[ 000 ]
LEGEND OF THE
-Translations by Hamish & Nao Takahashi
- Production, Edition and design by Ichido Reichan
- Quality control and corrections by Tetris Battle
- Project financed by the members of The Wild
- Originally written by Yumemakura Baku and
published by Futabasha publishing Japan. Cover
and illustrations by Itagaki Keisuke All rights
reserved to the original owners. This is a fan
translation project to merely promote and comment
about the works of Yumemakura Baku to English
speakers and fans of the series. If you kindly want
this project to succeed , contact
firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions or
[ 001 ]
INDEX OF VOLUME I:
-PARTI: THE DUEL
- PART II: THE GRUDGE
-PART III: THE PAST
- PART IV: INTRUSION
- PART V: EVIL BEAST
[ 007 ]
Even in a crowd he somehow stood out. It wasn’t
the way he was dressed, nor were his looks
anything more than average. In fact it was more the
opposite. His nose was flat and his lips were thick.
His shoulders, eyes and frame were also over¬
sized. Although you wouldn’t go so far as to call
him ugly. He certainly wasn’t charming, but his
features were well balanced, in their own way. At
a glance, he seemed like the kind of guy you could
see anywhere. If there was a group of people
coming towards you, your line of sight would stop
when it hit him, just for a moment, before he
walked straight past you. That was the kind of way
he stood out.
He was big. Quite tall. About half a head taller
than the rest of the crowd. He looked to be around
six foot, but just because someone is six feet tall
doesn't mean that they catch people’s eyes the way
he did. It wasn’t his height or his frame that caught
the attention of so many other people. No, it was
because he had an air of mystery about him. It was
that mysteriousness that made people notice him
He was wearing a cotton shirt over a pair of comfy
cotton slacks. His shirt was ofif-white and over
washed to the point of fading. An open leather
jacket hung from his shoulders over his shirt. His
clothes were a little too big. It looked as though he
chose the kind of clothing that wouldn’t constrict
[ 008 ]
Everything he was wearing was a little dirty. It's
not that the clothes he wore were dirty in places,
but more they had been stained with the filth of his
He looked beat up and worn out, but strangely it
suited him. It was probably because of the way he
held himself. The feeling he gave off didn’t come
from his clothing, but rather from inside. The
warmth of his body, his smell ... the tell-tale signs
of a human pushed through his clothing and hung in
He looked as though he was taking a casual stroll,
but he hadn’t let his guard down. He looked older
than 30, but just how much older was difficult to
tell. He would have been around 35 or 36, but he
moved his body like someone in their 20’s.
The month of March. The place; the Kasuga Grand
Shrine in Nara, halfway down the path towards the
shrine archway. That pathways inside Nara Park
were overflowing. There were a lot of young
people there as high schools and universities were
out for summer. Groups of senior citizens,
probably from a tour bus, were wandering towards
him. There were even foreigners with cameras
hanging from their necks. There were a lot of
young people wearing jeans. Unlike in the
wintertime, everyone was dressed in bright,
Peppermint green, yellow, orange, blue, pink ... all
kinds of colors walking about. The afternoon sun
poured over the land and fingers of light poked
through the tree tops. Just before the entrance of the
archway, there was a single storied structure made
from raw wood with a gabled roof made from
cypress bark, a stable, on the right hand side. The
shadows that fell on the wood from the treetops
above rippled with the breeze. The wind was
refreshing, not piercingly cold.
All the smells that had hung in the air since he
arrived started to melt into the wind. The smell of
deer and exhaust gas had followed him all day, but
now there was also the subtle smell of grass that
the wind had carried in from Mt. Wakakusa. He
passed through the archway, which was lined with
various stone lanterns on either side. Most of them
were for people to pay their respects, and it was
said there are around 1760 of them.
He could make out muffled voices in the distance.
The voices were getting closer. It seemed as if
someone was being chased.
“Get back here!”
“You little shit!”
The voices got louder. The crowd in front of him
split open. From there a young man wearing jeans
came running towards him. The young man was
pushing people out his was with his hands and
elbows as he turned and looked behind him. It
seems that he was trying to get a look at the people
chasing him. The young man was still fairly young
and didn’t slow down, not even when he turned to
look behind him. The young man ran straight into
him, as he had stopped walking, and fell back
The young man let out a cry and turned his attention
to the one had run into. The young man's fine
features looked shocked as he looked up towards
the man's jack-knife smile. The young man looked
about 17 years old. He had shoulder length hair
and was wearing what looked like a jacket. Their
met eyes for only a second. The young man got
straight back up and again started to run. There
were three men chasing him.
[ 010 ]
“He's a pick-pocket!” one of them yelled out. The
young man was at a disadvantage. The crowd he
was trying to push through was his main obstacle.
The men chasing him ran though the path he had
carved in the crowd. After about 10 meters or so,
they finally caught the young man. People in the
crowd slowed him down once the men chasing him
called out that he was a pickpocket. Out of
nowhere the young man gets a smack. One of the
men whipped off his jacket as the young man fell to
“What the hell are you doing?” the young man said.
“You're going to give that money back!”
“Don't play dumb with me, I'm talking about the
money you took back there,” the man said, hitting
the young man again. The man's face was turning
red. He was certainly angry, but that probably
wasn’t the only reason his face was turning red. He
had been drinking as well. The three men didn’t
look all that respectable themselves. The man who
hit the young man was wearing sunglasses. They
seemed like the kind of thugs you would find
roaming the streets at night.
“I don't know anything about your money,” the
young man said, propping himself up off the ground
with his right hand. The young man then glared up
at the three men, a line of blood forming
downwards from the corner of his mouth. He
clenched his left hand into a fist and wiped the
blood from his face. He looked down at the blood
on his fist and then turned his glare back to the
three men. He pulled in his sneaker clad feet and
propped himself up.
“You son of a bitch!” the man with sunglasses
yelled as he moved forward to kick the young man
with the tip of his foot. The young man jerked his
body backwards to fry and dodge the blow, and the
man’s foot sailed narrowly past his chin.
“Ah!” the man in sunglasses yelped, his kick to thin
air causing him to stumble forwards. The young
man used his knees to push himself up into a
standing position and spat crimson to the ground.
“That was close,” the young man said, a knife-like
smile forming on his lips. It was a wry grin of
defiance. A number of the pedestrians has stopped
walking and had been watching from a distance,
waiting to see how the situation would play out.
“Hand over the money, kid,” said the tallest of the
three men as he stepped in front of the young man.
He had a deep and calm voice.
“I said I don't know what you're talking about,”
said the young man as he took a slight step
“Look kid, I saw you take that money and run.”
“Superb eyesight you've got there.”
“You're not funny, kid,” the tall man muttered. His
eyes were narrow and his tone was eerily calm.
His movements flowed like water as he shuffled
his body forward. The young man turned to flee but
the tall man was too fast. It was the kind of speed
that could only be achieved through training. The
tall man threw his left fist at the young man's nose.
The young man pulled his head back and dodged
the attack, readying himself with boxing stance. He
bent his arms at his elbows and brought them up to
either side of his face to protect his head. The tall
man, as if reading his movements, let his right fist
fly towards the young man.
[ 012 ]
The tall man's fist came up from below to form an
uppercut. The young man, his arms still on either
side of his face, flung his head backwards to dodge
the blow. His shoulders, arms and back followed
suit and the young man fell backwards. The tall
man came in from the side with a kick towards the
young man’s head. The young man didn’t try to
dodge; he did the opposite and lunged towards the
tall man’s leg. The two of them were soon in full
contact, the young man using both of his arms to
latch on to the tall man’s right leg. Because he had
been weighed down, the force of his attack was cut
by half. The tall man's punches were polished, but
his kicks were rusty.
The young man stood up, still holding on to the the
tall man’s leg. The tall man threw another punch at
the young man as he became unbalanced. It hit him
on the nose, but because he had lost his balance, it
didn’t do much damage. The young man then curled
his right leg around the tall man’s right leg and
jerked it upwards, causing him to fall tot he
ground. It was just then that the two remaining men
came at the young man with an attack.
The young man clung to the side of one of the men.
The man with sunglasses sunk his knee into the
young man's stomach. The young man groaned as
he doubled over. That was when two police
officers came running over. It wasn't clear whether
someone had reported a disturbance of if they had
spotted the fight while on patrol.
“What’s going on here?,” the police officers
shouted as the ran over to stop the violence.
“Fighting are we?” one of the officers said, turning
their attention to the young man and the three men
who had finally been split up.
“No! This kid stole some money from us,” the man
wearing sunglasses said.
“Money?” the guard asked.
“Yeah, money. The kid’s a pick-pocket”
“Is that true?” the officer asked, turning to face the
young man. The young man shook his head.
“I don’t know what they're talking about, I haven’t
stolen any money” said the young man. The sudden
change in his demeanor was amazing. His defiant
expression as gone, replaced with a look of fear in
“Well, then why were you running?”
“Because these guys were yelling and started
chasing me. Anyone would run, these guys look
like gang members.”
“You little shit!”
“Watch it!” the police officer snapped.
The young man moved away as if trying to hide in
the policeman’s shadow. Blood started to trickle
down from his nose.
“I saw the boy take the money with my own eyes,”
the tall man said, stepping in front of the guards,
“go ahead and take a look in his jacket pocket.”
“And what if we don’t find anything?”
“Just take a look.”
When the tall man said that, the young man took of
his jacket and threw it to the ground.
“Here, search it yourself.”
The man wearing sunglasses picked up the jacket
and scrunched it up in hands. Without putting his
hands inside the pockets he groped at the jacket,
grabbing fistfuls of fabric at a time, but was unable
to find anything.
“Shit!” he said, flinging the jack to the ground.
[ 014 ]
“Hey, that's my jacket!” the young man said before
picking it backup.
“What was stolen?” the officer asked.
“I haven't taken anything,” the young man piped up.
“My wallet,” the man wearing sunglasses said.
“I haven’t got your wallet,” the young man said as
he put his hands in his pocket and pulled them
inside out. He went to far as to pull his shirt up a
little over his belt.
It was then that the man, who had been watching
the events unfold from within the crowd turned his
six foot tall body and walked away with the same
rhythm that he had come with. The young man
chased him with his eyes as his back disappeared
into the crowd.
“You threw it somewhere, didn’t you?!” the man
wearing sunglasses said.
“I didn’t throw it anywhere because I didn’t steal it.
If I had thrown it somewhere, it would be lying on
the ground around here, wouldn’t it?”
“You must have given it to someone!”
“I don’t know what you're talking about.”
“Fuck you, kid!”
“Why don’t we take this conversation down to the
police station?” Said the officer, attempting to
calm the situation.
“Police station?” said the man wearing sunglasses.
“There the two of you will be able to give your
own sides of the story.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Someone’s just picked my pocket, I don’t have
time shoot the breeze in a police station.”
“Be that as it may, I can't just let the two of you...”
the o flicer started.
“Did anyone here see what happened?” the other
officer called out to the crowd, cutting off the first
officer. He got no answer.
“Let's go,” said the tallest man, placing his hand on
the shoulder of the man wearing sunglasses.
“Yeah. Come on...”
“Let's go!” said the tallest man of the three,
Shimamura, as he pushed his open palm into his
“And the wallet?” asked one of the officers.
“I guess he dropped it after all. We’re going to go
take a look for it.” Shimamura said, staring
intensely at the young man.
“Leave no stone unturned!” said the young man.
Shimamura gave no response. He just glared at the
young man for a moment before turning his back on
him and walking away.
[ 016 ]
Part One : The Duel
Bunshichi Tanba was walking down a tree-lined
pathway. It was a trail that broke off from a slightly
elevated spot on the Old Willow Path inside Nara
Park. It was narrow. Not the kind of path a lot of
people came down. Long, dry grass was creeping
in from either side of the walkway, limp and
withered. That's where Bunshichi Tanba walked,
his thick legs taking out dry blades of grass as he
There was a lot of green grass mixed in with the
dried grass. There was no mistaking that the
changing seasons had spread that pale green
around and would continue to do so until it
covered everything. The green of speed wheel
flowers and the yellow of sunflowers could be
seen in spots that had gotten a lot of sunlight. The
leaves no longer shed shadows from the treetops
above. All you could see now were the red,
pointed sprouts of new life. Compared to the lower
end of Nara park, here it felt almost as if spring
was running a little behind schedule. Sunlight fell
straight through treetops as the leaves had yet to
The trail was a little steep. The sound of dried
leaves crackling underfoot echoed through the air
with each step Bunshichi Tanba took. He had broad
shoulders, and the stray branches leaning in from
either side jerked back as they hit his body. A soft
breeze was rustling through the trees. It carried the
soft smell of dried bark
[ 017 ]
Before long the path stopped abruptly in a strange
clearing in the forest. Long withered grass was
creeping in from all sides as if this spot had been
completely forgotten about. The clearing wasn’t all
that big; it would have been about the same size as
a tennis court it if were the same shape. There was
a large cherry blossom tree at the other end of the
clearing, which seemed out of place. There stood a
small, five leveled stone pagoda to the right of the
tree. It was a little taller thanBunshichi. There
were three more, slightly smaller objects lined up
next to the pagoda. Bunshichi stopped in his tracks
and scanned his surroundings. His right hand was
waiting. He scratched behind his ear with his fat,
hook-like index finger.
“Alright” said Bunshichi in a thick, deep voice,
“It’s time to come out now.” He seemed to be
calling out to someone behind him Once the words
had left his mouth, there came the sound of
footsteps through through the dried grass from
behind. The sound was getting closer. And then the
sound stopped. Bunshichi took a few steps away
before turning around. There was a young man
standing at the foot of the path. It was the young
man from before; the pickpocket who had been
chased by those three men, and who had bumped
into Bunshichi near the temple archway. He had his
hands in his pockets and stood with his legs
slightly apart. The young man turned his head
towards Bunshichi and looked up at him through is
shaggy shoulder length hair.
[ 018 ]
He had sharp, penetrating eyes.
“You knew I was there, huh?” the young man
“What do you want?” Bunshichi asked. The young
man let out a short whistle and raised his head.
“Don’t play dumb,” the young man said, striking a
pose. He was stained red from his nose to his lips.
He looked like some kind of majestic wild beast.
Some kind of carnivorous, predatory feline. A
young panther. That's what he looked like.
“I'm talking about the money,” the young man said,
a razor sharp grin running across his face.
“Oh, you mean this?” Bunshichi said, pulling a
small black wallet from his pocket. The young man
had shoved it into Bunshichi’s pocket when he ran
into him near the shrine.
“I’m gonna need that back.”
“Give it back?”
“You mean hand it back to that guy with the
“I mean give it back to me”
“Back to you, huh?”
“C’mon man,” the young man started, “I put my life
on the line stealing that. It's mine now,” he finished
“There was nearly 300,000 yen in there when I
looked. I'm gonna need you to give that back.”
“322,000 yen to be exact.”
[ 019 ]
“Shit...,” the young man said before spitting on the
grass that lay at his feet, his hands still firmly in his
“But I thought I was going to get to keep it,” said
“I risked my neck for that cash. Did you really
think I was going to just let you walk away with it?
I was just letting you hold on to it for me. That’s
why I was following you. Being so big, you are
easy to find, that's why I had you look after it for
“Why didn’t you call out to me right away?”
“Because you decided to come down this deserted
path. It’s a lot safer to try and talk to you when
there is no one else around.”
“That makes sense,” Bunshichi said, relaxing a
“Give me the cash.”
“What would you have done if I had left the park
still holding the wallet?”
“I would just have to pretend that I didn’t know
anything. If things got really bad I would have just
ran for it.”
“I just got a little nervous. So I didn’t say anything
before you started walking away.”
“Gimme the cash”
“That’s a nice story, but it's doesn’t quite hold
“Oh really,” as soon as the young man had spoken,
Bunshichi put the wallet back in his pocket.
“What are you doing!?” the young man asked, his
voice was stern but his heart nearly jumped out of
his body. He looked like he was ready to explode.
“Maybe I should try my luck with you and get to
keep the money.”
“What!!?” the young man yelled, his hands now out
of his pockets.
[ 020 ]
He turned and walked towards Bunshichi.
“Are you serious?” he said, still making his way
“I'm still thinking about it,” Bunshichi said to the
young man now standing in front of him.
“Give it back, man,” the young man said, pushing
his open palm towards Bunshichi.
“Well then...,” said Bunshichi, his hands still in his
pockets. He looked the quiet young man over with
his cold, emotionless eyes. Out of nowhere the
young man flung his leg up into the air. Unlike the a
little while ago when he had that run-in with the
thugs, now he showed amazing force, almost like
he had purposely pretended to be weak. His leg
was straight and headed for Bunshichi's crotch. It
had incredible spring. It was if he had been hiding
his natural ability this whole time. The spring in
his leg was born from his ankle, knee and back.
The tip of his foot missed Bunshichi's crotch, flew
upwards and left a slight mark on his baggy shirt. It
looked as if his foot would have hit the bottom of
Bunshichi’s thigh, but his leg wasn’t long enough.
Bunshichi had moved his body back about half a
step. The young man had also jumped back quite a
distance. There was now around three meters
between them. Bunshichi still had his hands in his
pockets. It was then that the young man finally
noticed the mysterious air that seemed to wrap
itself around Bunshichi.
“What? Do you train as well?” the you man asked,
relaxing his stance a little and clenching his hands
into fists. Bunshichi was still standing casually on
“I’d say you were holding yourself back just a short
[ 021 ]
“Heh,” the young man said, a beast-like grin
forming on his crimson lips, “Even the cops would
have started chasing me if I had started showing
“It was just that tall guy that was acting a little
At that Bunshichi removed his hands from his
pockets. He was holding the black wallet in his
right hand. He flung towards the young man. The
young man caught it in mid-air with his right hand.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I've got no plans to try my luck against
four opponents,” Bunshichi answered.
“What?!” The young man finally noticed the
presence behind him as he spoke. He side-stepped
to the left, his face still locked onBunshichi's.
Once he had put a bit of distance between them, he
turned away from Bunshichi and glanced back
towards the path. The three men were standing
there. The guy with sunglasses that he had stolen
from and the other man had stepped into the
clearing. The tallest of the three, Shimamura, was
standing behind them.
“SHIT!” yelled the young man. He had those three
men standing to the right of him, Bunshichi standing
to the left and his back to the woods. There was a
mass of tall dried tussock grass that stood between
him and the forest. It would take a lot of time to try
and escape through the trees. Bunshichi blocked
him to the left, the young man had no idea what he
was capable of, and the three men stood to his
right. Even trying to make it to the tree line would
be too much of a risk. He had hesitated for a
moment and let his chance to escape slip away.
The three men moved towards the center of the
[ 022 ]
grumbled the man wearing sunglasses
“Looks like that guy was holding on to the wallet
for you,” said the man standing next to him, turning
his attention to Bunshichi. Shimamura stood behind
the two men with his arms crossed, watching the
“He used me to hold on to it for him, it doesn't
mean we are working together,” said Bunshichi.
“Huh,” the man wearing sunglasses said, his mouth
only half open. He had propped his head forwards
a little and his chin pointing straight out, “What do
“In all the confusion of the crowd, this kid jammed
the wallet into my pocket.”
“We’re not working together” Bunshichi said softly.
It was then that the young man spoke up out of
“What are you talking about bro? You were the one
that told me to do it!”
“What!?” the man in sunglasses said, string straight
“I only did it because he told me to! It's a bit late
now, but he told me to meet him here when it was
Bunshichi looked bemused. The young man could
really think on his feet. He seemed like the type
that would try anything. He was dirty. Cunning. But
his cunning and dirtiness were somehow
“Must be time to break the two of you up, then,”
said the man in sunglasses. As he spoke a flash of
golden light came from his hands. He was holding
a hunting knife.
The young man took a sudden step back. The other
man also pulled a knife from his pocket.
Shimamura was the only one not moving.
“Give that money back,” said the man wearing
“Even if I do give it back now, you're not about to
let this end peacefully, are you?” said the young
man, putting the wallet into his pocket and slowly
moving backwards. Regardless of how much
training one may have, light gleaming of a blade
invokes human fear on a subconscious level. The
young man was no exception. He took off his jacket
and wrapped it around his fist as the the two other
men moved towards him. Fine beads of sweat
started to form on the young man's brow. He still
had that devilish grin on his face.
“You look like you're about to piss yourself,” said
the man wearing sunglasses. The young man
lowered his posture and readied his heel. He
parted his legs slightly and and raised his fists in
front of his face. It was similar to a boxing stance,
but you probably couldn’t use it in an actual boxing
match. His right hand was sticking out at the same
level as his chin. His finger tips sat naturally, not
balled into a fist. His left hand, with the jacket
wrapped around it, was poised in the space
between his right hand and his face, for protection.
His hands weren't sitting still either. They were
moving around in the air as if waiting for an attack.
His legs were also restless. His knees were
moving, keeping in rhythm with his fists. While it
might look like a self taught style, it seemed that he
had some knowledge of Karate.
“You mind if I head home?” said Bunshichi. He
was standing in the grass, not moving. He was like
a thick wall of muscle.
“Not a chance,” Shimamura spoke up, “you're
going to face me.” A sharp light shone from the
back of his narrow eyes as he spoke. He unfolded
his arms and began walking towards Bunshichi.
Then, as if someone had given a signal, the other
two men closed in on the young man. The man in
sunglasses made the first move. He lunged forward
and thrust his knife out in front of himself. Much
like the knife, the young man thrust his hand
wrapped in his jacket and struck the man with
sunglasses' right hand. It was then that the other
man held his knife at his waist and ran towards the
“AH!” he said, using his jacket-wrapped hand to
dodge the attack. The blade had managed to
puncture through the fabric of the jacket.
“Yaaaah!!” the young man cried out as he let fly a
kick to the man's mid-section.
“This has got nothing to do with me,” said
Bunshichi watching the young man move.
“It does now,” said Shimamura, putting black
leather gloves on his hands as he walked towards
Bunshichi. Once he had finished putting the gloves
on, he was close enough to make an attack. He
moved like a boxer. He made a straight right jab.
The sound of muscle hitting muscle. Bunshichi
shifted his weight to the left hand side of his body
and caught Shimamura's fist in the palm of his right
hand. His palm was thick, like a cliff face. It was
probably about double the thickness of a normal
person's hand. And it was big. He caught the fist
and began to squeeze it in his palm Bunshichi then
caught Shimamura's elbow in his left hand. A sharp
'crack' came from within Bunshichi’s palm. It
sounded like a dry branch being snapped in half.
The sound stopped everyone in their tracks. It was
a chilling kind of sound. The kind of sound that
made your skin crawl.
Shimamura's piercing eyes became big and round.
He turned his vision to the wrist of his right arm
His hand was no longer protruding from his wrist.
It hadn’t been torn off either. His hand had been
bent all the way underneath his arm, leaving his
wrist looking like a smooth round stump. His
fingers were curled up at the tips. The palm of his
hand was flat against the underside of his arm. It
was grotesque. It looked like some kind of
practical joke. But they soon understood that there
was nothing to laugh about when Shimamura
“Gyaaah-!!” he sounded like a woman. He
elongated the “aah” sound as the pitch of his voice
rose. He kept screaming like that until there was no
air left in his lungs. And then his voice was gone.
His lungs were empty. The last of the sounds
weren’t screams of pain, but fear.
[ 026 ]
After the scream stopped and he sucked in another
lung full of air, the true screams of pain began.
They were the kind of unashamed screams you
could never imagine coming from someone like
Shimamura. He had been playing it so cool up until
then. They weren’t the cries of a human, they were
more like the cries of an animal.
“Nahgah!”, “Nugoh!” rang out, along with ’Ugo’
and ’Gogogo’. It was like he was trying to say
something but he just couldn’t get the words out. It
seemed a mix of natural shock, extreme pain and
psychological damage. Shimamura fell to his knees
and rolled over on the grass. He rolled over and
over. You could see the whites of his eyes.
“What the hell did you do?” yelled the man in
“You-you-you...” the other man seemed like he
wanted to say something, but was only able to
make sounds like a chicken.
“Go home,” said Bunshichi. But the other two men
didn’t quite seem to understand. The young man
turned and looked at Shimamura, his mouth half
agape. The man in sunglasses, still clutching his
knife, cleared his throat a little. The other man’s
shoulders were moving up and down in time with
his deep breaths.
[ 027 ]
“Just leave,” said Bunshichi, as he took a step
forward. The other two began to move towards
him as if sucked in by his movements.
The fight was over in an instant. Bunshichi’s cliff
like right fist few out and struck the man in
sunglasses on his left cheek. The man in sunglasses
went flying backwards. As he pulled his right fist
back, he pushed his right elbow forward. His
elbow struck the other man's face and sent him
flying in the opposite direction. They fell back into
the grass. The sharp blades of dry grass were
probably scratching their faces or their open eye
balls, but they wouldn’t have noticed, they were
completely unconscious. Bunshichi had knocked
their consciousness right out of their bodies. The
man wearing sunglasses was lying face-up on the
grass. His glasses had flown so far you couldn’t
see them anymore. The two of them were still
clutching their knives.
The young man was looking at Bunshichi with a
look of awe. He was trembling with fear.
Bunshichi cast his sleepy gaze over to the young
“Hey,” Bunshichi called out, un-balling his fists,
“good thing we didn’t fight, huh?” he said in a low
voice as he turned his back to the young man. He
turned towards the path and started walking. The
young man didn’t move, he just stared at
Bunshichi’s back. No, it was more that he couldn't
“That...,” the young man started, pausing slightly as
if unable to get the words out, “was amazing” he
muttered to himself, clearly impressed.
“Simply amazing! Incredible! You!” his voice
became so loud you would think he was using a
megaphone. He started to run after Bunshichi.
[ 028 ]
Light shone on the surface of the water. It was
coming from the street lights and a nearby hotel. It
was dusk. The wind was calm and the color of the
moon tinged of the surface of the lake. There was
still a little light in the sky to the west. The clear
blue sky was turning to a deep shade of purple.
The sun was setting and with it the light was
leaving. The moon sat large and bright in the sky to
the east. There were one or two stars in the sky.
There was no wind on land, but there was some
higher in the sky and it was making the stars
Lake Sarusawa. It was surrounded by hotels and
lodges. There wasn't much left of the traditional
Japanese town that once stood there. People who
visited as children probably wouldn’t recognize it
if they came back today. It was nothing but a
popular tourist spot now. Bunshichi Tanba was
standing on the shore of that lake, watching the
light dance on the water. He had his hands firmly in
his pockets. He had been staring out over the lake
for about half an hour. The town was light when he
arrived, but it was now sinking into darkness. It
was clearly changing from dusk to night.
[ 029 ]
To his right, on a hillside path under Kofuku
Temple, tourists were walking around peeking at
the houses for sale. There were a lot of people
coming down the path to Sarusawa and they were
casting shadows on to the surface of the water. The
young man from before was standing a few meters
away from Bunshichi. He had been following
Bunshichi for almost four hours. The young man
had been trying to talk to Bunshichi the whole time.
Bunshichi had ignored him, but that didn’t stop the
young man from following him.
“How long are you planning on following me?”
said Bunshichi, his gaze still fixed on the
reflections in the water. The young man lifted his
head. He had his hands in his pockets, of course.
His jacket had a cut-mark on the upper left
shoulder. The young man took his hands out of his
pockets and took a step towards Bunshichi.
He had a shallow stab wound on his left wrist. It
was from when he wrapped his jacket around it
and the guy wearing sunglasses came at him with a
knife. That’s also where the tear on the shoulder of
his jacket came from.
“At last he speaks!” said the young man, still
around three meters away fromBunshichi.
“How how much longer are you going to follow
me around?” Bunshichi asked in a low voice.
“I haven't got any money. If that's what you needed
I would have given it to you.”
“Bro, I can tell if people have money just by
looking at them”
“What about me?”
“Do you think that I thought you had any money,
bro?” said the young man, his voice showing no
[ 030 ]
A small, wry grin began to form on Bunshichi's
“So go bother someone else.”
“...” Bunshichi didn’t answer.
“Make me your student.”
“Student?” without thinking Bunshichi turned and
looked at the young man. He never thought the
words “student” would ever come out of his
“You're learning Karate or something right? Well,
teach me that.”
“Yeah, this kind of stuff,” the young man said
before balling his hand up into a tight fist and
thrusting it in front of himself. It was a pretty good
punch in it's own kind of way. He had welts on his
fists from over-training.
“You seem to know a little bit already.”
“Well, yeah,” said the young man, nodding his
“So keep doing it and get stronger.”
“Nah, it's hopeless, that damnDojo...”
Bunshichi kept listening.
“All they ever do is boast about how awesome
they are. There are so many rules and they don’t let
us do anything. They are always wasting time with
“They are so stuck up they would probably turn
you away if you challenged them without even
throwing a single punch.”
“Challenge them...” Bunshichi muttered, “...people
still do that.”
[ 031 ]
“Yeah, they do. I’m not saying you should take the
Dojo on by yourself, but at least just go and ask to
observe. Go in looking like you wouldn’t hurt a fly.
But of course have no intention of just observing
the class and going straight home. At some point
you ask them that you want them to teach you
“ Htrttr t...”
“It never happens when the seniors are there, but
once someone did it when the seniors were gone,
and I took them on.”
“We really went at it. Me and him. I think he was a
university student. Naturally he was a little more
skilled than me. But fights really boil down
courage. I was worse than him, but I managed to
give him a few surprises. I didn’t care about getting
hit. I wanted him to hit me. I only hit him once for
every three times he hit me. But even then I didn’t
tap out. My style wasn't half bad either. We were
exchanging blows, getting splattered in blood when
our instructor came back and started giving us a
“’The Dojo is for training, not for fighting.',
'Follow the rules'.”
“There is no rule that says we have to hold back,”
Normally in a Karate match, each fighter tries to
avoid hitting their opponent with their fists and
feet. This means that one stops their attack when
they are on the verge of making a hit to the body.
The judges watch this and award victories and
losses accordingly. It's a special rule that was
implemented as Karate attacks can be very
dangerous. This is what the young man is talking
about when he says 'holding back'.
In other martial arts, like boxing or fencing, attacks
are allowed to hit your opponents body.
[ 032 ]
However martial arts equipment, like padding,
bamboo swords and ropes are used to lessen the
impact the attacks have on the body.
“Full contact Karate is getting more popular,” said
“Yeah, that's true.”
“Why don’t you just train at a full contact Karate
the young man fell silent.
“Just give it a go,” said Bunshichi.
“You've got to be kidding.”
“It’s pain in the ass. I’ll have to take my student ID,
get permission from my parents, they'll ask me
where I live and all that. I’m sure they will let me
have a full contact match, but they won't let me
have a real fight.”
“You're not from around here, are you?” Bunshichi
asked. The young man spoke with an unmistakable
Kanto accent and they were in the Kansai region.
[ 033 ]
He spoke like an adult, but was still a bit childish,
which made Bunshichi smile a little. He looked up
into the night sky. It had gotten completely dark. A
cold breeze began to blow through. Bunshichi took
a step away. The young man followed. He walked
away from the bank of the lake and into the bustling
business which surrounded it. He was headed in
the direction of Nara station. Bunshichi talked back
over his shoulder, somehow aware that he was
“Why do you want to be my student?”
“Because you're strong,” the young man replied to
Bunshichi’s massive back.
“I may be strong...” Bunshichi shot back. He wasn’t
worked up or anything, he just spoke those words
as if they were a matter of fact,“but there are plenty
of people who are stronger than me.”
“Bullshit there are.”
“Yeah, but you laid those thugs out in no time flat,
“One of them had some experience with boxing.
But I guess he was just an amateur after all. It took
way too long.”
“No, I mean, I just said you laid them out. But it's
not that it took to long or was too quick. Although
that is a thing as well. But that's not what I’m trying
“What are you trying to say?”
“Bro, you're not just strong.”
“You're serious. You take this stuff seriously.”
[ 034 ]
“That's what makes you strong. You took out three
street thugs one by one. That was you wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, it was mesmerizing.”
“It’s a good idea to get serious when people are
coming at you with knives.” A bitter smile flashed
across Bunshichi’s face as he spoke. He looked
like he had just remembered something. “But I was
taking it easy on them”
“You couldn’t tell?” Bunshichi asked. The young
man knew exactly what Bunshichi was saying, but
it looked like the he was having trouble
comprehending what he was really trying to say.
The young man fell silent for a second before
“So you're telling me,” the young man started, now
standing to the left of Bunshichi, “That you went
easy on them so as not beat them to death, but
didn 't hold back so as to give them a thrashing?”
“More or less.” Bunshichi said quietly. The young
man somehow seemed to understand what
Bunshichi was trying to tell him. “You know, for
better of worse, thieves are nothing but trouble.”
“Nothing decent can come from hanging around a
kid who stole money from some guys who were
clearly gang members.”
“Dude, you knew I slipped the money into your
pocket and you were going to run off with it.”
“I wasn't really going to steal it, but what you
stuffed into my pocket was not the kind of thing I
could hand in to the lost and found, either.”
“Stealing or not, you were going to make that
money your own.”
[ 035 ]
“Well, a every thief has to take their cut.”
“Shit...” the young man said, spitting on the ground.
The spit fell on the asphalt just in front of a woman
in jeans who was walking towards him, causing
her to wince and pull away.
“What did you do with the money?” Bunshichi
“I left it there.”
“It’s well and good to swipe cash from some guys
who are acting tough, but you can't take money
from a bunch of guys lying face down on the
“You're not as nasty as you look,” said Bunshichi.
The young man let out a chuckle as he nodded his
head and grinned.
“What is it?”
“This...” said the young man as he pulled
something out of his jacket pocket. There was a
small bundle of 10,000 yen notes wedged between
“You took some as well...” said Bunshichi.
“What do you mean as well ? Did you....”
“Just a little bit,” Bunshichi said as he puled his
bulky hand from his jacket pocket. He too had a
bundle of notes between his fingers. It was more
than the young man had taken.
“You're even worse than me,” said the young man.
“It’s because they came at me with a knife, even
though I was just a bystander.”
“Wait, wouldn’t you have had to pocket the cash
before they came at you with knives?”
“I don’t seem to remember,” said Bunshichi,
pretending to not know the answer.
“You're a dog after all.”
“Is that bad?”
[ 036 ]
“Oh, it’s bad.”
“I didn’t really have a choice.”
“I need to get myself a decent meal and get a good
night sleep for tomorrow. This cash is for
expenses. If I ever run into those guys again, and I
do happen to have some cash on hand, I can pay
them back,” the way Bunshichi spoke made it
difficult to tell if he was serious or just joking. He
was hard man to read. His eyes were staring off
into the distance.
It was still dark when Bunshichi woke up, but not
the middle of the night. Dawn was approaching.
Dull light flowed through the window, illuminating
the room with a soft white glow. He sat bolt
upright in his bed, naked from the waist up. He
sprang up with the force of raw rubber. His body
wasn’t disproportionately brawny like a
bodybuilder. It was more like he had thick bones
with fat muscle wrapped around them. His muscles
weren’t lumped on to his body, but it was more like
his skin clung tightly to his flesh. His chest and
abdomen were about the same width, but there was
no sagging in the slightest. The thickness of his
neck put it in a class of it's own. It was not easily
noticeable when he was wearing a shirt, but it was
really something. It was almost thicker and stuck
out further than his head.
Bunshichi unloaded himself from the bed, causing
the springs to make a creaking as if the mattress
was about to give way. The floor boards took the
weight of his body without making a sound. All he
had on was a pair of briefs.
[ 037 ]
Bunshichi had scars running all over his chest.
Some were old, others fresh. Some of the scars
were obviously made by blades, while others were
unmistakably burn marks. He had two large scars,
one on his abdomen and another on his back. The
one on his back was a single mark that stretched
from his right shoulder over to the armpit on the
other side in a straight line. It looked like someone
had slashed his back with a samurai sword. The
scar on his abdomen was even more unusual. It
was as if someone had tried to gouge out the left
side of his navel. But even though it looked like a
gouge mark, that didn’t mean that sticking out by a
few centimeters. The skin had been pulled and
turned. It’s the kind of scar that a blade would
leave if it had punctured his flesh and been twisted
The young man was asleep on the other bed next to
him. Ryoji Kubori. That was his name. Last night
after he and Ryoji had gotten a bite eat, they got
their things from the coin locker at the train station
and booked a room at the hotel. Bunshichi pulled a
pair of black sweatpants and a sweat shirt from
his bag that lay on the floor. He put them on slowly.
They were pretty worn out. They appeared to be
more ash colored than pure black, but that
depended on which angle you looked at them from.
His clothes were covered in stains. They looked
like blood stains, though it was difficult to tell how
old they were. His arms and legs were like logs,
but when they were hidden by his clothing it was
only his neck that stood out. You could see the line
from his neck to the bottoms of his ears as his hair
was so short.
He put his socks on. He simply pulled them over
his feet not caring if they were the right way
around or not. He pulled out his sneakers and
slipped them over his feet.
[ 038 ]
He slowly tied his laces. Ryoji awoke as he tied
“What the...” Ryoji mumbled, his voice still hoarse
from having just woken up. His hair was a mess.
“You're awake,” said Bunshichi. Ryoji sat upright
in bed. He was also naked from the waist up. He
was bit thinner than Bunshichi, but his upper body
muscles were still well defined. The skin on his
body was as smooth as his face. His body was
supple, as if hiding strong natural reflexes.
“Where are you going at this hour of the morning?”
“There's no such thing as heaven, is there?”
Bunshichi replied as he tied his laces. He wasn’t
looking at Ryoji.
“What...?” said Ryoji as he pulled himself up and
sat on the edge of the bed.
“But there probably is a hell,” he said as he
finished tightening his laces.
“Hold up...” said Ryoji as Bunshichi silently put
the shirt and pants he had changed out of the night
before and thrown on the floor into his travel bag.
Ryoji scrambled to get dressed. He had just
managed to ram his feet into his shoes by the time
Bunshichi had his hand on the door knob. Ryoji
didn’t have any luggage.
“So, where are you going?” asked Ryoji as he ran
his fingers through his hair like a comb. Bunshichi
didn’t say anything. They went to reception, handed
back the key and paid the bill. It was Bunshichi
[ 039 ]
“That’s cold, man. If I hadn’t have woken up when I
did, you would have just left me there,” Ryoji said
to Bunshichi's back as he walked. Bunshichi didn’t
reply. They exited the hotel.
“Hey man...” Ryoji started. Bunshichi turned and
threw his bag at him Ryoji caught it against his
“Stop talking so much,” he said to Ryoji in a quiet
voice. His expression hadn't changed from the day
before, but it was almost like it was a different
personality was coming out from inside of him.
“B-” Ryoji was about to open with ’bro’ but his
lips froze in place. There was a kind of intensity
coining from Bunshichi which stopped him before
he could muster single word. Bunshichi bent his
shoulders and knees in front of the hotel. He was
stretching. Bending over and touching the asphalt
with the tips of his fingers and rotating his ankles.
He rotated his neck as well. He twisted his entire
body and reached over his back. It was like he was
warming up for something. Bunshichi's huge body
suddenly started moving across the asphalt. It was
a rhythmical movement that hid the weight of his
huge body. Ryoji followed after him, still clutching
the travel bag.
Bunshichi was jogging in the direction of Nara
park. He slowly increased his pace as he pushed
forward. His shoulders leisurely moved up and
down. Ryoji also increased his pace. Eventually
Ryoji was unable to keep up with Bunshichi as he
was carrying his luggage.
“Shit! God damn...”
Ryoji yelled out as he followed after Bunshichi,
still holding on to his bag.
The sun had yet to rise over the asphalt roads. The
streets of Nara lay silent. Bunshichi passed by lake
Sarusawa and into Nara park. He took the path on
the left hand side towards lake Washi and passed
the front of the Kasuga Shrine. It was a roundabout
course; the long way. Bunshichi finally came to a
stop in front of the Manyo Botanical Gardens.
Before Ryoji, who was now about 100 meters
behind, could voice his dissatisfaction, Bunshichi
began some light stretching. His stretching
movements focused primarily on his wrists and the
joints around his neck. Be bent backwards to a
surprising degree. He took on a Sumo wrestler's
pose, that is to say that he stretched his legs out,
spread them apart and crouched down so far that
his inner thighs were almost touching the ground.
Then Bunshichi let his upper body fall forwards.
His chest and abdomen lay flat on the ground. His
forehead was touching the dirt. His body was as
supple as a gymnasts. Next he started doing push
ups, but they were not your usual push ups. He put
his hands on the ground, palm open, and
effortlessly did fifty push ups. But he wasn’t
finished. He then switched from palm to fingertips
and did another 10 pushups. Then he curled his
pinky fingers up and did another 10 push ups on
only eight fingers. Every 10 push ups after that, he
curled another finger into the palm of each hand.
He did the last 10 push ups with his thumbs alone.
One hundred push ups in all. That was one set.
Bunshichi then moved on to the second set all
while keeping a steady rhythm.
[ 041 ]
It was then that fine beads of sweat finally began
shimmer on Bunshichi's brow. His breathing
however remained normal. He stood up an wiped
the dirt from palms. For a moment it looked like
Bunshichi’s entire body had increased in size. It
was as if steam was rising from his body into the
early morning air. Morning mist had sunk through
the trees and into the depths of the forest in Nara
Park. Deer could be seen moving around.
Bunshichi stopped and carefully stretched once
again. He rolled his neck a few times before
finally standing still. He took a deep breath and
settled himself down on a nearby bench. He closed
his eyes and caught his breath. It didn’t look like
the type of scene Ryoji would want to interrupt.
There was some kind of tingling sensation that
seemed to radiate from Bunshichi’s body. After a
short while, Bunshchi stood backup. He opened
“Bro...” It was Ryoji. Bunshichi ignored him and
started walking in the other direction. He stopped
in front of an pine tree, dropped his sweat pants
and took a piss. It took a while to get it all out. It
caused a thick steam to rise into the air. Bunshichi
finished and turned his head upwards. There was
sunlight coining up from behind the tips of the
“Let's get moving,” he said.
They went down the same woodland path as the
Bunshichi was walking ahead and Ryoji was
trailing behind, Bunshichi's bag still in his arms.
The mist had set in on to the tall withered grass
that hung from either side of the path. Bunshichi's
sweatpants and Ryoji’s jeans were damp from the
knee down. They came to a clearing. It was the
same one where Bunshichi had taken down those
three thugs the day before. Naturally they were no
longer there. Instead there were two men standing
under the cherry blossom tree. One of them looked
to be in his forties while the other was a lot
younger. Bunshichi stopped once he had laid eyes
on them He felt a strong force flex within himself.
He lowered his head slightly and gave them a nod.
The older man returned the gesture. The younger
man did not. He simply gave Bunshichi and icy
The younger man was quite tall. He looked even
taller than Bunshichi, although he probably didn’t
weigh as much. His shoulders were not very broad
and he had slit eyes. His skin was pale. He was
looking at Bunshichi through his half closed,
Buddha-like eyes. He looked to be around 25 or 26
years old. He was the kind of guy who could be
mistaken for a woman at first glance. His hair was
long. His smooth, sleek locks hung down to his
shoulders. He was wearing a black suit. The
blackness of his clothes made his white skin stand
out even more. He turned his cold, glassy eyes to
The older man was a little more stumpy. He was
short compared to both Bunshichi and the younger
man standing next to him, but he still would have
stood about 5 feet 7 inches. He looked like a
boulder who had been rolled over dead grass.
His hairline was starting to recede. He looked like
the human form of the lion statues that guard Shinto
shrines. He was calm. He had black traditional
Japanese leggings on under his Karate uniform.
The wind came in from the left of them, lashing at
the brittle long grass.
“Souichiro Izumi?” asked Bunshichi.
“That’s me,” the older man replied in a low voice.
“I’mBunshichi Tanba,” said Bunshichi. There was
a short silence.
“Who are you?” he asked the younger man.
“Tsutomu Himekawa,” the answer came from
Souichiro. The young, long haired man
acknowledged Bunchishi for the first time with his
“He’s a fourth-dan at the Hokushinkan. He has been
staying with me as a guest. I brought him along as a
contender,” said Tsutomu.
“The Hokushinkan, huh.”
“He has been studying under Mr. Shozan Matsuo.
I'm sure you are familiar with Mr. Matsuo.”
Bunshichi gave him a nod. The Hokushinkan is an
organization that operates outside of the Japanese
Karate Federation. They disapprove of holding
back and stopping attacks before they hit, and
actually try to strike their opponents with their
punches and kicks. The only attacks that were
forbidden were attacks to the eyes and groin, as
well as direct punches to the head. The founder,
Mr. Matsuo, spent his life forming the organization,
which practices practical Karate. It has branches
not only in Japan, but all over the world. They
really hit hard during training.
“I heard that you trained in the Takemiya Style
along with Mr. Matsuo,”
■ »B. -
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1 jV ; 1 lllfjM
martial arts. It is a little known style of martial arts
which emerged from the Yagyu-shinkage school. It
uses bare knuckle fighting and weapons to try and
defeat your opponent. It is probably closer to
Jujitsu than it is to Karate. There is a large focus
on throws and grappling at the joints, not only
striking opponents with your fists. It is said that
this style was created by a master who appeared in
the middle of the Edo period by the name of
Hikojiro Izumi. According to records, Hikojiro
was able to defeat bulls and bears with his bare
hands. The man standing in front of him, Souichiro
Izumi, was the one who had inherited the task of
keeping the Takemiya style alive.
“Thank you for accepting my challenge,” Bunshichi
“I couldn't call myself a martial artist if I didn’t
accept when challenged,” Souichiro replied. He
was looking straight at Bunshichi. “I've heard a lot
rumors about you,” he continued.
“Yeah, I heard that you fight dirty.”
“Really?” said Bunshichi as he slowly moved his
body forward. He didn’t move straight forward, but
diagonally to the right, stepping over the long dry
grass. Souichiro leisurely let his arms fall to his
sides as he followed Bunshichi’s movements with
“We really hit hard, ” said Souichiro under his
breath. That line was meant as a promise.
It meant that he didn’t want Bunshichi to hold back.
He wanted him to really try to land his hits. He
didn’t want it to be a 'match' where fighters stop
their attacks short of making contact, but a real test
to see who was the better fighter. Bunshichi
stopped in his tracks. They were twice as close
now as they were when they had first faced each
other. You could feel the nerves radiating from
them in the morning air.
“When shall we start?” asked Bunshichi.
“We already have,” answered Souichiro. He
calmly shifted his weight on the grass as he spoke.
Bunshichi thought that the match would be over in
an instant. People experienced in full contact fights
are strong. It's only through real fights that one
comes to know how much damage your body can
take, and how much damage a hit is going to do
once it connects. Even in a fight between two
people who practice the same style of martial arts,
the one with experience outside of a Dojo has the
advantage. They are able to take a hit. That being
said, the man now standing in front of Bunshichi,
Souichiro, was not some heir to a Dojo who had
never fought outside of one. No, they were birds of
a feather. Whether or not he was on the same level
as Bunshichi, he certainly looked as if he had
plenty of experience with full contact fighting. He
also looked like he had been through more than a
few fights that almost cost someone their life.
It was Souichiro that had taken on Bunshichi’s
challenge and nominated Nara park as the place to
fight. Duels were currently banned. Only sparring
and competition matches was allowed. Dueling
could possibly lead to legal action. The fact that
Souichiro had chosen this park as the place to
fight, and not a Dojo, meant that he never intended
for it to be a competition match and he mentally
prepared himself accordingly. This is the
conclusion he had come to after hearing all the
rumors about Bunshichi. Normally he would run
away. Avoid the fight. That much was expected.
Most of the experienced martial artists who had
been challenged by Bunshichi had done so.
However it wasn't actually Souichiro who had
accepted Bunshichi’s challenge. One of the other
students had accepted, but Souichiro was standing
in for him. Everyone who had accepted up until
now had been beaten to a pulp by Bunshichi. They
had no choice but to use a stand-in.
Bunshichi had nothing to lose. Even if he did, it
was just his life that he would forfeit. If it was a
schools honor that was at stake, then it could cost
people their livelihoods. They wouldn't accept a
duel in that case, even if they thought they could
win. But he had accepted. He did think he could
Souichiro wouldn’t have accepted if he thought he
would lose. He would have plenty of reasons to
run. If he had ignored the challenge completely,
that would have been the end of it. But he
accepted. He accepted because the thought he
could win. He had the kind of confidence that came
The master of full contact Karate, Shozan Matsuo,
had invited Souichiro's father, Jusuke Izumi to be
his student. Jusuke had learned techniques from
Shozan that primarily focused on constricting
joints. Shozan Matsuo took the joint focused
techniques from the Takemiya style of Karate and
added them to his own Kitatatsu Style. Souichiro
Izumi and Shozan Matsuo were connected through
this fork in the evolution of Karate. Jusuke was no
longer of this world. Now his son, Souichiro, is
continuing on where he left off.
Souichiro and Bunshichi were now facing one
another. They were fighting to try and critically
injure each other. The winner would be the one
who lands the first direct hit to the others body.
They could gouge an eye or snap a joint. The fight
could be decided by a single finger. For example,
if one were to strike the other without critically
injuring them, the other could grapple them by the
joints of their body and the fight would be over.
Depending on how you look at it, you could say
that grappling is the most formidable fighting style.
You could especially say it about one-on-one bare
knuckle fights. You come to understand that in the
instant the fight is over, regardless of what fighting
style you use.
This wasn’t the kind of fight where you would be
asked if you want to tap out once your opponent
has you in a hold. Once held, your arms, legs and
knees would be broken. You would be asked if you
wanted to tap out once your limbs had stopped
working. Killing, or being left for dead came after
That was the kind of fight that Bunshichi now
faced. That's what Bunshichi would do if it were
him. Bunshichi began to taste his own fear of
grappling so much that it made him sick. He had
known that unbearable pain. He felt that pain all
over again as he watched Souichiro move towards
him over the dry, dead grass. The fear sat in the pit
of his stomach and licked at his insides like the
forked tongue of a snake. It was fear from being
grappled to the ground by a man six years ago. It
was the taste of defeat and humiliation. Bunshichi's
fear, however, didn’t do anything to diminish his
determination. Rather, remembering that defeat and
humiliation lit a dark flame inside of himself.
Souichiro had yet to take on a fighting stance as he
stepped through the withered grass. He was
coming towards Bunshichi from an angle. He had
Japanese style socks on over his feet. Bunshichi
was also yet to take a fighting stance. Neither of
them had begun to close the distance between them.
As far as I can tell... Bunshichi began to think. No,
not really think, rather instinctively feel. He was
was still a fair distance away. As far as I can tell,
Souichiro will try to make his final move by
grappling me to the ground. The distance needed
to grapple was smaller than the distance needed to
land a couple of punches.
But Souichiro probably wouldn’t make his first
attack a grappling move. Firstly, after some offense
and defense with his arms and legs, he would most
likely look for an opening and then come in for a
grappling attack. But even against the initial
offense and defense with arms and legs, Bunshichi
had a greater reach. Having a bigger body size in a
bare knuckle fight plays an important factor in
deciding who will win.
[ 049 ]
But that wasn't the the deciding factor either. The
slight advantage of having a larger body could be
gone in an instant if you let your guard down. This
is especially true in serious fights. You should
think about how to effective use your fists to strike
your opponent before they hit you. No, not even
think about it. Thoughts like that become a part of
your body. They become instinct.
Bunshichi began to move. He moved to the side,
keeping the same pace as his opponent. He couldn’t
move as freely as he normally could due to the
long dry grass coming up to his knees. That meant
that he was unable to judge the levelness of the
ground beneath his feet. The distance between the
two was quickly shrinking. They had both lowered
their backs a little as they moved. Himekawa
silently watched the two of them. Ryoji stood with
is legs slightly ajar, clutching Bunshichi’s bag with
both arms. His arms were tense.
“Bro,” Ryoji called out. Souichiro moved in
towards Bunshichi as soon as the words had left
his mouth. Just as he moved in, Bunshichi made a
move. His right leg flew upwards. His tree trunk
like leg roared through the air, the sole of his foot
striking Souichiro's chest like a spear. Souichiro
took the hit with his bent left elbow. Souichiro then
grabbed Bunshichi's ankle with the same hand as
he took the blow. He grabbed the underside of
Bunshichi’s left knee with his left hand. He then got
into position to pull off a deciding grappling move
using the knee and ankle.
It is commonly said that there are around two or
three thousand different grappling moves.
There are attacks for every joint in the human body,
that can be made from every part of the attackers
body. The number of grappling moves you could
do using only the wrist are in the double digits.
And that number could easily double simply by
grappling another part of the body at the same time.
And once you have your hands in place, there is
any number of moves you could make.
Every type of martial art, be it Aikido, Jujitsu,
Karate or Kung Fu, includes grappling. Even the
Sambo style of martial arts from Russia has
developed it's own unique methods of grappling. It
isn't possible for a single human being to be
proficient in every kind of grappling there is.
Bunshichi only had a working knowledge of how
to use and execute grappling techniques from the
Takemiya style of karate. And that was from
copying techniques he had only read about in
books or heard about from others. He hadn’t even
been taught that well by the people at his school of
Karate. He simply had to take a guess based on his
own grappling techniques, as well as others he had
seen and heard about. It is also not unusual for
secret grappling techniques to not be written down.
There are countless techniques that are passed
down directly from teacher to student.
Even though it's called grappling, that doesn’t mean
that you should suddenly try to make a finishing
move by twisting and holding down your
opponents body. You have to use a strict pattern of
attack. Although most attack patterns have the same
finishing move, they differ depending on the style
of grappling. The most frightening opponents are
the ones whose moves you can't read. You have to
do something before you begin a pattern of attack
Bunshichi kicked the at the ground with his left
ankle. Dirt flew up and hit Souichiro, who still had
Bunshichi by the leg. This caused Souichiro to lose
his grip on Bunshichi.
[ 051 ]
Bunshichi turned his foot to the side and twisted
his upper body to the right. This action jerked
Bunshichi’s leg free from Souichiro's grip.
Bunshichi then put his left hand on the dry grass
and fell down to the ground. His left foot hit the
ground after his hand. Souichiro began to move
before Bunshichi's right foot hit the ground.
Souichiro went to kick Bunshichi in the stomach
just as he was about to get backup. Souichiro's'
foot flew into the empty space between Bunshichi's
stomach and the ground, but he jerked it back up
like a snake jerking it's body away, sensing
something about to go wrong.
Bunshichi again twisted his body half way around
to the side. Souichiro's snake-like foot grazed past
Bunshichi’s torso on it's way up. Bunshichi rolled
away over the grass. He made three complete
revolutions and stopped upright on his knees.
Souichiro's leg came in for an attack on
Bunshichi’s head just as he looked up. Bunshichi
bent his left elbow and used it to absorb the attack.
It had the same impact of someone striking as hard
as they could with a wooden club. It was a
piercing kind of attack that his bulky frame wasn’t
used to. Any normal person would be taken back
by such an attack, wind up hitting themselves in the
forehead with their own arm or having the bone of
the elbow broken. But Bunshichi was able to
absorb that power with his left elbow.
He then stood up. The attacks were immediate.
Bunshichi managed to repel all of Souichiro's'
attacks. He absorbed the blows with his elbows
and knees, used his wrists to deflect others and his
palms to push the rest aside.
[ 052 ]
However there was no time for him to form attacks
of his own. If his attacks were anything short of
perfect, he would instantly find himself in a
grappling hold. Souichiro's attacks were
impressive. You would never have guessed he was
in his forties. Around the upper body he went for
the manubrium, the sternum, the liver and the
suture. Around the head he aimed for the temple,
the philtrum, the mandible and the clavicle. They
were swift attacks, perfectly aimed at the vital
points of the body. Letting any of them connect
would lead to a direct hit, and Bunshichi would
most likely pass out from pain in no time flat.
Souichiro was as precise as a robot. There wasn’t
a single attack that was not made at full force.
Bunshichi soon realized what he was up against.
He still couldn’t get into the rhythm of Souichiro’s
movements. He had been very light on his feet
since the beginning. That's what Bunshichi was
thinking about as he blocked all of Souichiro’s
attacks. He was the kind of man that wanted to use
all the fighting moves he had been taught and bring
his black blood to a boil while doing so. The type
of human who thought he could utterly defeat his
opponent with his sheer number of attacks.
Bunshichi smelt the stench that only a person who
had learned ways of killing a man with his bare
hands could make. Bunshichi knew it. He could
smell his own kind. He just knew it. A sensation of
excitement tingled swiftly up his spine. He couldn't
help but let a smile form on his fat lips
[ 053 ]
Bunshichi could see the same kind of joy twinkling
in the eye of his opponent. Souichiro’s attacks
weakened slightly, just for a moment. Bunshichi
wasn’t about to just let that opportunity pass by. He
decided to make a kicking attack to try and throw
off his Souichiro's rhythm. That was when it
happened. The only thing Bunshichi saw was the
back of Souichiro's head. That was the moment.
The movement of kicking with his left leg started in
Bunshichi’s muscles. There was the quick
movement of something coming up from beneath
him with inhuman speed, as if it had predicted his
attack. It was the left heel of Souichiro, who had
turned his back on Bunshichi and lent forward. His
heel was about to wedge itself into the gap
between Bunshichi’s thighs.
A heel-kick between the legs is enough to crush
ones testicles and have them pass out from the
pain. If unlucky, it could lead to death. Even if it
didn’t kill you, it would shatter your pubic bones.
Whether it was a cry of fear, or the cry of an attack,
Bunshichi himself didn’t even know. Bunshichi
thrust his hand straight down in the direction of his
crotch. His hand met Souichiro's heel between his
legs. There came a sharp sound. The two attacks
canceled each other out. If Bunshichi didn’t have
the body weight that he had, there is no mistaking
that Souichiro’s heel would have pushed straight
past his hand a crushed his testicles, if the sheer
speed of the attack didn’t kill him outright. This
was a chance to win. Bunshichi jumped up above
Souichiro, who was still bent over in the opposite
direction. He put all of his weight behind his right
elbow and came down on Souichiro's spine.
[ 054 ]
“Gyaaa!” Souichiro groaned as he spat out some
phlegm. Their bodies sunk into the grass, one on
top of the other. Bunshichi’s left arm was wrapped
around Souichiro's face, trying to force it to the
right hand side. Bunshichi's thick arm covered
most of Souichiro's face, from his right cheek to his
chin. From there he pulled Souichiro's half turned
head up towards his chest. Souichiro's spine and
neck were bent all the way back. Souichiro tried to
scream, but the voice was unable to pass his lips.
Bunshichi had his left arm under Souichiro's armpit
and left hand, from the outside. The hand of his left
arm was spread out from Souichiro's armpit to his
collar bone. His fingers were intertwined with
those of Souichiro's left hand, which was wrapped
around his face.
Just then there was a tearing sound. The sound
came from Souichiro's shoulder which was
wrapped in the muscle of Bunshichi’s arms. It was
like the sound a chicken wing makes when you take
either part of the wing in each hand and pull them
opposite directions, ripping it apart at the joint.
“ Guuuh ,” a muffled sound managed to pass through
Souichiro's lips. The extreme pain pushed trough
the obstruction of his throat. Souichiro was losing
his ability to move. Bunshichi got up off of
Souichiro and took a step back. He took a deep
breath. And that's when it happened. Souichiro's
body, which should have limp and lifeless, sprung
forth from the long grass. With his left arm hanging
loosely at his side. He made a 'V shape with the
middle and index fingers of his right hand and
lunged towards Bunshichi's face.
[ 055 ]
He was aiming for Bunshichi’s nose. If he managed
to land the 'V of his fingers onto Bunshichi's nose,
they would slide up and hit his eyeballs. If he got
his fingers in there, it would be direct, single strike
attack, and Bunshichi wouldn’t be able to turn his
Bunshichi jerked his head to the side a split second
before impact, and landed a heavy punch on
Souichiros unguarded left cheek with his right fist.
Souichiro was knocked over, but he got straight
back up. He looked back at Bunshichi and spat out
a mouth full of blood and chipped teeth. His blood
soaked Bushichi’s sweat pants an even darker
shade and the tooth chips lay grainy against the
cloth. Souichiro wasn't ready to give up.
Bunshichi gave Souichiro another blow from his
heavy fist. Souichiro was again thrown backwards,
and again tried to get back up. Bunshichi drove the
heel of his left sneaker into Souichiros chest as he
tried to get back up. The sound of cracking bone
could be heard. Souichiro tried to get up again, but
again Bunshichi drove his heel into the same place.
Again there was the sound of cracking ribs.
Souichiro finally stopped moving. His red mouth
opened and his eyes gazed up towards the sky. He
had been a decent challenge.
Bunshichi’s body was shaking a little. Not even he
knew how or why he was shaking. He took a deep
breath and took a few steps back. He felt like they
had been fighting for a half hour, but it would have
been around five minutes at the most. Bunshichi
[ 056 ]
Tsutomu Himekawa stood under the cherry
blossom tree. His expression hadn’t changed from
before. His eyes were like ice. A wry smile had
formed on his lips. He slowly walked over to
where Souichiro was lying face up on the ground.
He bent down and took a look at him.
“He'll be OK. I didn’t do enough damage to kill
him,” said Bunshichi as he watched Souichiro
slowly stand backup on the grass. The cuff of his
black leggings were blowing in the wind and
rustling against the long dry grass. He looked at
Bunshichi through his squinty eyes.
“You wanna try again?” Bunshichi asked in a low
“No, he doesn't,” Himekawa quietly answered
back. It seemed that it didn’t really matter to this
long haired man if Souichiro had lost on behalf of
“That was a terrific match,” said Himekawa,
turning his glassy eyes towards Bunshichi.
“May I ask you something?”
“What was that move you used with the headlock
around his neck and left arm?”
“I had never seen it before.”
“It’s called the Chicken Wing Face Lock or
“Face Lock,” said Bunshichi, finishing the sentence
off for him.
“Yeah, I saw it on TV once,” said Bunshichi, the
inflection of his voice made it difficult to tell
whether he was joking or being serious.
[ 057 ]
“I think that I would very much like the chance to
challenge you one day,” said Himekawa.
“Would I not make a worthy opponent?”
“I would really like to see you in the same
condition you have left him,” said Himekawa. He
made this bold statement as he let his vision turn
back towards Souichiro.
“Well, everyone gets a turn, don't they.”
“Yes. He has left a number of opponents looking
just like you have left him. Today it was finally his
“Do you think I’ll get a turn?” Asked Bunshichi.
“Someday,” Himekawa said, grinning.
“I think I might want to get out of here before it's
my turn,” Bunshichi said to himself as he turned his
back on Himekawa's smile. He stopped in front of
Ryoji, who was still holding Bunshichi’s bag.
Bunshichi grabbed the bag out of his arms and gave
him a light pat on the shoulder. Bunshichi's pat
seemed to snap Ryoji out of the trance he he had
fallen into. He had been shaking a little.
“So long,” Bunshichi said before walking in the
other direction. Ryoji, who stood staring at
Bunshichi’s back for a moment, suddenly followed
after him as if Bunshichi's farewell had flipped
some kind of switch inside of him.
“Wait!” he yelled, “Wait for me! Bro! You can’t
just walk away and leave me here!”
Part One : The Duel
[ 058 ]
[ 059 ]
[ 060 ]
PART II: THE GRUDGE
[ 061 ]
It was nothing really. Saito's elbow had lightly
bumped into the man standing next to him at the
bar. The was talking Karate withBunshichi. Saito
was 20 years old and Bunshichi was 16. It was
Saito who had invited Bunshichi out for a drink .
Bunshichi had grown past 5 feet. His face had
matured as well. He had grown some thick and
unkempt facial hair making him look a lot older
than 16. He looked even older than Saito, maybe
23 or 22 years old.
The bar was cramped. It had been built under a
train bridge. There was only standing room inside
the bar and you could fit maybe ten people inside
at the most. Bunshichi was sitting to the right of
Saito. They were drinking sake together. Around
seven empty Sake bottles sat around them on the
counter top. They had drunk about half each. Saito
was a little more drunk than Bunshichi and
Compared to Bunshichi's poker face, Saito was
looking a little red in the face.
However it was Saito who overpowered
Bunshichi in the Dojo. Even though Bunshichi was
taller than him, Saito's foot had made a good sound
when it hit the side of Bunshichi's head. Though
they were having a conversation, Bunshichi was
doing most of the listening.
Saito was talking mainly about his own martial
arts accomplishments. He was letting Bunshichi
hear about the number of fights he had in the past.
Bunshichi had heard all his stories before. The
empty Sake bottles would shake against each other
and make a rattling sound every time a train passed
overhead. He was talking about the time he had a
fight with a member of the Karate club from some
“So, I knew he was going to try and kick me...”
Saito bent his elbow into a the shape he
presumably used to absorb the attack as he spoke.
That was when Saito's left elbow came into
contact with the right arm of the man standing next
to him at the bar. The was gripping his glass of
beer with his right hand. The freshly poured beer
was filled all the way to the top. His drink spilled
a little and wet the sleeves of his suit. He hadn't
bumped him that hard. It was a light tap if anything.
But is was enough to make a full beer spill over.
Saito had half turned away from the man, lost in his
own story. He didn’t seem to have realized what
“Hey,” the man said in a low voice. Bunshichi
realized that something had happened as soon as he
heard that voice. Saito most likely heard it as well,
but probably didn’t realize that the man was
speaking to him.
“Hey” The voice had more power the second time
around. Saito felt someone place their hand on his
shoulder. Saito finally realized that it was him who
was being called on.
[ 062 ]
“What are you going to do about this?” the man
“What?” Saito replied, clearly confused. He had
no idea what the man was talking about.
“Look!” the man said, holding up his sopping
sleeve. Saito still didn’t get it. “It's beer,” the man
“You hit me with your shoulder and got beer all
over my sleeve,” said the man.
Saito spoke before thinking.
“OK,” said Saito, bowing his head. He then turned
his back on the man again to face Bunshichi and
continue his story.
“What the hell was that?” the man said as put his
hand back on Saito's shoulder, his voice now much
more violent. Bunshichi watched as Saito's red
face got even redder.
“What an asshole,” Saito said to Bunshichi,
purposely raising his voice loud enough so the man
“You son of a bitch,” the man said as he squeezed
his hand even harder.
“What the hell?” said Saito, ripping the man's hand
off of his shoulder. Bam. There came a noise. Saito
and the man both stood up. The chairs they had
been sitting in were now halfway to the floor. The
bar was cramped, so they stopped halfway, leaning
against the wall of the room.
The man would have been around 25 or 26 years
old. The was wearing a blue blazer over his shirt.
He had his collar popped and open. He was
wearing sunglasses. Bunshichi knew exactly what
kind of opponent he would be.
If this type of guy came walking towards you out
on the street, you would normally try to avoid
making eye contact with him. He's the kind of guy
who would pick a fight with a stray cat or dog if he
“Take it outside,” the owner of the bar called out
form behind the counter. He didn’t even bother to
lookup from the dishes he was washing. This
wasn’t the first time something like this had
happened. He spoke bluntly. “You can fight all you
want outside,” he went on, his eyes still on his
Another man stood up behind them. He had been
drinking with the man wearing sunglasses. He had
brought him along.
“Takimoto...,” the man said, pulling at his arm. He
put one hand in his pocket, pulled out a small
wallet and placed it on the counter. He then took
out a five thousand yen note. He left the money on
the counter and returned the wallet to his pocket.
He was still holding his friend with his other hand.
“I'll leave the cash here then,” said the man as he
pulled at his friends arm. “ Let's go.” He pulled at
Takimoto's arm again.
“Kijima,” Takimoto started, turning towards the
man who held his arm His tone showed
[ 064 ]
The man holding Takimoto's arm, Kijima, ignored
the bar owner as he was about to hand him his
change in coins and pulled Takimoto out of the bar
by his arm. The cramped bar again fell silent. It
felt subdued. Saito put his seat back up and sat
“Shit,” he said before emptying the remaining Sake
from his cup to his mouth. “God damn punk.” He
no longer felt like continuing his story from before.
About ten minutes later they stepped out of the bar.
The roads under the train bridge were dark. They
walked out from under the bridge to the rear of the
station, as opposed to the front. It was around half
past ten at night. The street wasn’t all that big. The
streets were empty save the street lights that stood
lonely by the wayside. The two of them were on a
narrow asphalt sidewalk that was separated from
the road by steel railing. Bunshichi and Saito were
walking on the road. They had barely been walking
for a couple of minutes before they heard a voice
come from behind them.
“Hey!” it was the same voice as before. Bunshichi
knew who’s voice it was the instant he heard it.
“What?” Saito called back. The two men from
before, Takimoto and Kijima, were standing there.
Takimoto had taken off his sunglasses. He was
looking at Bunshichi and Saito through narrow
eyes. His eyes were dark and calm. He looked
much more menacing than he did when he was
wearing sunglasses. Takimoto chuckled.
“So, you were saying you know Karate,” said
Takimoto as he walked over.
[ 065 ]
He was holding something in his right hand. It was
fat and black in the shape of a club. The light from
the street lights reflected sharply off the object. It
was a beer bottle. As he walked over, Takimoto
brought the beer bottle down onto the steel railing
that divided the road and the foot path. The bottle
struck the metal and smashed. The liquid inside
turned to white froth and poured out on to the
pavement. He had turned the a bottle of beer into
an threating weapon. The angles and curves formed
by the splintered glass were both sharp and blunt.
The tip of the bottle looked like it could rip
someones cheek clean off.
Takimoto looked over at Saito with brazen eyes.
He didn’t look like he had came all this way to
“You were saying you're strong,” said Takimoto,
his voice subdued. “Why don’t you show me some
Saito had already taken a cat stance. His left leg
was slightly forward and bent at the knee so that
his toes were pointing towards the ground. He had
most of his body weight resting on his right leg,
which was placed further back and was slightly
bent. He used his knees and elbow to get his body
into a light fighting rhythm. The edge of his left
hand was at the same level as his shoulder and was
sticking out, but he didn’t have his arm stretched
out flat. He balled his right hand up into a fist and
held it close to his chest. It was a fighting stance
used for fights outside of a Dojo. Takimoto kept
walking towards Saito, completely undeterred. He
didn’t even slow down.
Kijima stayed still. Bunshichi was just standing
there as well. Strangely enough, he didn’t feel the
urge to jump in. It wasn’t simply because Saito had
started the fight himself and it had nothing to do
No, it was because Bunshichi wanted to see how
Saito would handle a thug. He thought that if
Kijima made a move, then he would as well. But if
Kijima didn’t make a move, then neither would he.
That's what Bunshichi had decided.
Saito darted to the side as Takimoto approached
him. He immediately regained his cat stance.
Takimoto changed course and continued to walk
towards Saito. Saito was moving his left knee up
an down to keep his body in a fighting rhythm
Takimoto had lowered his back slightly as well.
His eyes were getting more and more narrow. He
thrust the broken bottle in front of himself, aiming
for Saito's face. Saito kicked up his left leg. He
had been given an invitation.
When Saito's foot reached the spot where
Takimoto's right hand should have been, Saito
found that it had moved out of the way. He wasn’t
aiming for Saito's face. He was aiming for Saito's
left foot and left knee, which still wasn't fully
stretched out. Takimoto rammed the broken bottle
into Saito's left knee cap as hard as he could. It
made a horrible cracking sound as the glass broke.
Saito let out a cry at the same time. Takimoto had
been aiming for Saito's knee from the start. Saito
grabbed his knee and fell back on the asphalt.
Takimoto sunk his foot into Saito's stomach.
“Hey Karate kid, what's wrong?” Takimoto
taunted. Saito spat at the ground. Bunshichi was
stunned. He knew first hand how strong Saito was.
And now he was getting beaten by a petty thug right
before his eyes. He couldn’t believe it.
[ 066 ]
Bunshichi wanted to save Saito, but his body
wouldn’t move. He didn’t want to see Saito getting
beaten like this. He wanted to see Saito make a
counter attack and knock the thug over.
“Tanba!” Saito called out. His voice was asking
why Bunshichi wouldn’t help. Bunshichi didn’t
move. He looked over to Kajima. Kijima showed
no emotion as he watched his friend attack Saito.
“Fucking prick...,” said Takimoto, his voice ringing
in Saito's ears. Saito grabbed Takimoto's leg as it
hit and held it to his stomach. Saito looked
desperate. He used his right leg to knock the
gangster off his feet; he had one foot in his hand
and kicked the other leg out. Takimoto fell
backwards on the asphalt. The back of his head hit
the asphalt with a thud. His jagged glass weapon
fell from his hands. Saito them straddled Takimoto,
who had at this point gotten a concussion.
Saito started punching Takimoto in the face. The
were normal, fist-fight punches. When it came
down the sheer strength, Saito had the upper hand.
Saito lessened his attacks a little. He had let his
guard down. Bunshichi was watching so Saito had
wanted to win this fight using proper Karate
techniques. Bunshichi could now see that Saito had
intended to get Takimoto to the ground with a
It wasn’t just that his opponent was used to fighting.
It was a mixture of skill, luck and him letting his
guard down. Saito had taken the initiative and
struck back, but he had completely forgotten his
[ 067 ]
He was just pummeling his opponents face with
his fists. His punches fell from just below his
shoulders. Blood came flowing from his opponents
face. Takimoto's face was getting drenched in
blood. Bunshichi was watching the spectacle from
Kijima’s expression hadn’t changed. He was a
strange guy. It seemed like he had no intention of
getting involved in a fight that had nothing to do
with him. Halfway through the fight, two cars
drove past. It hadn’t even been three minutes since
the fight started.
“Shit,” Takimoto gasped. He shoved his right hand
into his blazer. “You little shit!” His right hand
moved. A beam of reflected light from the metal
went straight up from beneath Saito's chin and
knocked him to the side. Bunshichi saw it. Once
the metallic beam of light was pulled out/removed,
a spray of dark came out from just below Saito's
chin. It was like he had a mouth-full and was
spitting it all out. There was thick spray, as thick as
your fingers and a mist like spray that all came out
together. The liquid poured down on Takimoto’s
face. All the liquid started to form a pool around
his head and started to flow onto the asphalt of the
The spray died down quickly. The last of the liquid
built up on the opening of the wound in time with
the final beat of his heart. Saito stopped moving.
Bunshichi cocked his head to the side. Bunshichi’s
eyes looked as though they wanted ask what had
happened, as he couldn’t comprehend the situation.
His mouth was open.
[ 068 ]
Bubbles of blood rose up from between Saito's
lips. Saito's eyes became distant. He fell face¬
down on top of Takimoto.
A horrid smell wafted into Bunshichi's nose. It was
the smell of blood. Bunshichi’s legs were
trembling. Fear came from the soles of his feet and
raced through his entire body. He couldn’t he was
speechless. After a little while it seemed that
something was going to come forth from his lips.
Bunshichi knew that it would be a scream He
knew that if he were to scream, it makes things a
little easier to handle. But no sound left his mouth.
It was as if the scream itself had gotten caught in
Takimoto crawled out from under Saito's body. He
was gripping a blood stained knife in his right
hand. Takimoto looked around as he was about to
get up. Bunshichi was the only one left. Kijima had
gotten himself out of there at some point. Takimoto
got up. His face and his hair were both covered in
blood. Droplets of blood dripped from his matted
hair. He glared at Bunshichi.
“You wanna wind up like this?!” he barked.
Bunshichi wanted to run. But he felt like that as
soon as he made a move he would end up on the
ground. He had pissed himself. His crotch felt
I've got to get out of here, he thought to himself. He
wanted to run away, go home and forget about
everything that had happened. He wanted to jump
into his futon and go to sleep. He would never
even think about learning Karate again. But he
didn’t know which way he should run. He was
panicking. He turned forward and took a look at
the man. He had his lips curled up over his blood
stained teeth. He couldn’t take it anymore. His
throat exploded. A spirit-like scream came from
his lips. It wasn’t a scream It was a howl.
He ran. Bunshichi's fate from then on was to be
decided by the path he ran down. Bunshichi
quickly looked back at the man who had stared at
him with those horrible eyes as he ran from the
[ 069 ]
The room was dark. Dark, but not pitch-black.
[ 070 ]
A man was lying on his back, and the woman next
to him was lying on her side, resting her head on
his shoulder and moving her hand around in circles
on his chest. The sheets came up to their waists.
The woman was half draped over the man, her
right breast was sitting on the man’s upper left
chest. Her complexion was fairer than most. He
had the same skin tone as she did. It wasn’t only
their skin. Both had long hair that fell down to their
shoulders. The man had a strange smile on his face.
At a glance, they looked like two women sleeping.
However you could quickly tell that one of them
was a man by his defined shoulders and arms. His
chest rolled with clearly defined chest muscles.
The woman had her eyes closed but the man had
his open as he lay on his back. Tsutomu Himekawa.
That was his name.
Himekawa wasn’t staring at the ceiling, it was as if
he was staring at something far off in the distance.
You couldn’t see it because of the sheets, but the
woman’s right leg was curled over his left leg. She
was lightly rubbing her leg against his. She looked
to be around 20 years old. She opened her eyes.
She had big, wide eyes. She opened her mouth to
talk, even though her lips were still resting on
Himekawa's chest. It was like she was about to
whisper to his heart.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked. It's a
line that women use to get silent men to tell them
what's on their minds. Himekawa didn’t answer.
“What are you thinking about?” she asked again.
[ 071 ]
“I’m not thinking about women,” said Himekawa.
“So you're thinking about men?”
“Who? Who’s the guy?”
“Bunshichi Tanba.” The woman next to him got a
sudden rush of nerves as soon as Himekawa had
said the name. “I was thinking about the man who
beat up your father.”
“He's a strange one.” The right hand that was
resting on Himekawa's chest slowly made it's way
down his body. Up and over his chest and
underneath the sheets. Those white fingers found
what they were looking for. They started touching
“You're leaving tomorrow, aren’t you?” she asked.
“I've already made plans.”
“Oh yeah, that's right.” she said before running her
teeth over his nipple.
“Everyone involved will start wanting to know
more information and all the details of what's been
“Mr. Izumi has gotten back on his feet, so he will
probably be fine,” said Himekawa, the woman
looked up at his face as he spoke. Himekawa had
deep, brooding eyes.
“Well I'm not fine,” she said. “I wonder how long I
can hold on for.” she continued with a smirk.
[ 072 ]
“You're the one that made me like this,” she said,
the movements from under the bed sheet started to
get faster. Himekawa gave a bitter smile. He
probably wasn’t the one who made her a woman.
Two months ago when he first slept with her,
Saeko Izumi, he knew that she was no stranger to
men. When he entered her for the first time, she
raised her hips as she raised her voice.
What Saeko was trying to say was that she only
became the kind of woman that would reach out
and grab a man all on her own since she had been
with Himekawa. Talking dirty halfway through the
act, and holding her mouth closed when Himekawa
got going. Himekawa had made the first move, but
it had was Saeko that had seduced Himekawa.
Walking around the house in her nightie, asking
Himekawa to bring her soap when she was taking a
Both were fine with it. Himekawa was fine with
her as his lover for the time being. It wasn't
because she was the daughter of a martial artist,
but because she had a tight, voluptuous body. She
could take on any kind of might with her supple
limbs. She was quick to learn the arts of the
bedroom. Her face and figure were much better
than average. She had the kind of beauty that made
her look a little dangerous.
For Himekawa, who's only redeeming feature was
his strength, it was a complete mystery how he
managed to bed this woman. It seemed she was
less like her father and much more like her mother,
who died around 10 years ago.
But the only thing on Himekawa's mind was
Bunshichi. The man was like a cliff face. He had
brought some strange kid along with him to the
meeting point, and was waiting patiently in a pair
[ 073 ]
He was big, but also knew how to keep his
balance. He could tell just by remembering his
muscles that his body made for full contact
fighting, ft was a mystery how he had never heard
of his name until recently. He would have no
trouble cleaning up if he were to enter into
regional competitions. Then again, a guy like him
wouldn’t be able to fight like himself in a
competition with rules. He smelled like a wild
beast. There was the one thing that he had in
common with Ichiro Koizumi. He too had become
a black sheep in the world of martial arts. While
he had talent, his techniques were far too
dangerous to be able to use in a sanctioned match.
But there was one more man like Bunshichi and
Souichiro. That was Shozan Matsuo, head of the
Kitatatsu training hall. Himekawa wanted to meet
him again. He wanted Bunshichi Tanba to meet
him. Thinking about that meeting brought a little
smile to Himekawa's face.
Himekawa looked down to find her face looking
up at him.
“Let's do it one more time...” she said with puppy-
dog eyes. What she was holding under the sheet
was now rock hard. Without saying a word,
Himekawa tore the sheets away. The thing sitting
between her fingers was looking straight up at the
ceiling. She changed her position and wrapped her
lips around the tip, and went all the way down to
the base. She was one intense woman.
[ 074 ]
She then twisted her head from side to side while
making her tongue dance inside her mouth, all
while holding Himekawa's member at it's base.
She slowly pulled her head back. She was
becoming more and more like who she really was.
She paused for a moment, a smile on her face. She
was lashing her tongue around in her mouth.
Himekawa stretched his arm out and grabbed her
backside. Saeko knew exactly why. She moved her
waist and put her knees over Himekawa's face. He
could see her flesh colored cave. She was dripping
wet. Himekawa was looking at her in the dim light.
She lowered herself down on his face as if getting
Himekawa smiled as he opened her up with his
fingers. His tongue was touching her. That was
enough to make Saeko wriggle her hips. She made
a muffled sound as she held him in her mouth. She
took her lips off of him and further lowered her
hips onto Himekawa's face. She was still stroking
him with her right hand.
“I don’t care if you have to leave!” Saeko said. She
was rubbing herself in Himekawa's face as she
spoke. “You can leave, just do it to me now!” she
said, raising her voice. “Do it! Do me to death!”
she cried out. Himekawa pulled himself out from
under the woman once he had finished using his
tongue. She grabbed at the bed sheets and stuck her
hips up out in the air. She looked like a wild
[ 075 ]
He had only just finished licking her. She looked
like she couldn’t wait any longer. He had planned
on teasing her even more. Thinking about making
Saeko go mad with sexual madness made his lips
begin to open. Himekawa fell down to his knees
behind Saeko, who had her hips perched up in the
air. Himekawa got closer to her. Saeko enticed him
by moving her hips around. Her hips moved
quickly, begging Himekawa to push himself inside.
It was their last night together, so she was even
more worked up than usual. She was wet enough.
Himekawa's tip slid in much easier than he thought
it would. Saeko let out a high pitched groan. She
felt sharp vibrations from her head down to her
toes. She looked like she was about to climax from
the first thrust alone. Himekawa started freely
moving as Saeko moved her hips from left to right.
It was a small bar. The air was thick with cigarette
smoke and filled with the Kansai dialect. It would
only take about 15 people of so to fill the bar to the
brim. There were two box seats and a line of
stools at the counter. There were only two free
seats left. The counter was made from wood. The
bar was covered with bulging ash trays and over
turned sake cups.
[ 076 ]
Marks left by dried up liquor were everywhere.
Bunshichi Tanba and Ryoji Kubo were sitting at the
very end of the bar. Bunshichi was drinking. There
were two sake cups sitting next to each other, so it
seemed that Ryoji was drinking as well. They were
watching a TV that sat above the entrance of the
bar. Bunshichi had forgotten his drink and had his
eyes glued to the TV set. Ryoji didn’t look like he
was all that interested.
It was a wrestling show. It had just come back on,
but hadn’t been long since it started. A prominent
Japanese wrestler was going up against a
foreigner. They were jumping around the ring,
bouncing each other off the ropes. Using the
bounce of the rope, the Japanese wrestler punched
the foreigner in the chest. The foreign wrestler
absorbed his punch by sticking his fat chest out. It
was as if the Japanese wrestler's fist did no
damage at all. The Japanese wrestler punched his
foreign opponent in the chest a number of times,
until the foreign wrestler suddenly grabbed the
Japanese wrestler by the arm and pulled it
The foreign wrestler floored the Japanese wrestler
and brought his elbow down into his back. The
Japanese wrestler crawled backup undeterred.
The foreign wrestler who had pulled the Japanese
wrestler up to his feet. He grabbed the Japanese
wrestler by the shoulder and arm, and threw him.
[ 077 ]
The Japanese wrestler flew back-first into the
corner of the ring. The foreign wrestler then
charged into the Japanese wrestler with his
shoulder. He buried his shoulder into the Japanese
wrestler's body. The ref was about stop the fight,
but the foreign wrestler had no intention of
stopping. The booming voice of the announcer
“Shit,” Ryoji said to Bunshichi, “this is bullshit,
why are we even watching it?” Bunshichi didn't
answer. Instead he just brought a sake cup up to his
lips. He was thinking about the past. The bar he
was in now felt like the bar he had been drinking in
with Saito. He was about as old as Ryoji is now.
Bunshichi could still remember the look in Saito's
eyes the moment he died. The Japanese wrestler
appeared again with a black eye. The image of
Saito's face hovered over the face of the Japanese
wrestler inBunshichi's mind. He wondered if
Saito was ever in a match like this one. Bunshichi
didn’t notice his cup had ran dry as he had been
thinking so much. Ryoji filled Bunshichi's cup with
liquor as he had been doing all night. He was
sulking a little.
“This is all scripted though isn’t it? These fights
are fixed for sure,” said Ryoji. Bunshichi turned
and faced Ryoji for the first time. There was a light
in his eyes that Ryoji had never seen before.
[ 078 ]
“Dude, what?” asked Ryoji. He spoke as if he felt
pressure corning from Bunshichi's stare. Bunshichi
“What is it?” Ryoji asked again.
“Maybe it is scripted, I don’t know,” said
Bunshichi in a low voice, “but there is one thing I
know for certain,” he went on, subtle fear in his
“...” Ryoji remained silent.
“Some of them are really strong,” said Bunshichi,
as sharp gleam in his eyes.
That was when the announcer called out the
Japanese wrestler's name, Kajiwara. That's right
Mr Kawabe, it looks like Kajiwara has returned.
The announcer was speaking to the commentator.
At some point the foreign wrestler had won the
match and the TV screen had switched over to the
announcer and the commentator. He certainly has,
and it would be nice if he were able to bring the
championship belt home with him. The
commentator answered the announcer with a
There came a sharp sound from inside Bunshichi’s
hand. It was the sound of his sake cup cracking
between his fingers.
PART TWO : THE GRUDGE
PART III: THE PAST
[ 079 ]
It was a narrow road. There was nothing there
save a simple, abandoned mechanics workshop.
The inside wasn’t even set up properly. There was
a ring, some dumb bells, a bench press, and a
punching bag that hung form the ceiling. A simple
tarpaulin sheet divided the training room from the
shower room. The rolling garage doors were open,
but the training room was still hot and muggy.
In front of the ring lay a pair of koshti; dumb-bell
like training equipment that are used to increase
arm strength. They are thick wooden club-like
objects, around 60 centimeters in length. The
handles are thinner, but they still weigh about 11 kg
each. You pick up one with each hand and push
them up above your shoulders. They are made in
Pakistan. They work your forearm muscles, triceps
and deltoids. You lift them over your back and
back forward again. Even those who are co nf ident
in their arm strength see them as a challenge.
The summer sun beat down from above out side of
the training room. The sunlight cast a thick shadow
from the roof.
The heat from inside the training room, however,
was not borne from the light above. The heat from
the bodies of men training in silence far
outweighed the heat of the sun.
It was a hot day. It would have been around around
38 degrees. You would break a sweat just by
standing up. The sun felt like sandpaper on the
shoulders. Bunshichi Tanba stood in the sun,
looking into the training room. He was only
wearing jeans and a t-shirt. There was a sports bag
sitting at his feet. There were two middle school
aged boys holding cameras, their lenses pointed at
the men inside. While they were outside of the
training room, there wasn't really anything fencing
them off The rolling garage doors that divided the
inside and outside were raised. The two school
boys were whispering the names of the wrestlers
they recognized as the held their lenses up to take
pictures. They were using zoom lenses that were
pretty expensive for a kid in middle school.
In the ring there were a group of three wrestlers
practicing their grappling moves. One wrestler had
another wrestler in a lock and had bent his wrist
and elbow back impossibly far. The wrestler
caught in the hold struck back at his opponent with
his free hand. The wrestler released his hold and
began trying to make another one. You couldn’t
ignore the strong smell of oil that hung in the air.
“OK,” came a low voice from inside. The voice
came from a short and dumpy man, who looked
short compared to the others. The men training both
in and out of the ring stopped what they were
doing. Everyone was dripping with sweat.
[ 081 ]
Most of the wrestlers were wearing t-shirts. Old,
worn out T-shirts. A subtle look of relief fell over
the faces of the wrestlers. Even if you were to call
them wrestlers, they all still looked quite young.
They all had fresh cuts and bruises on their faces.
It didn’t look like there were any new members
there either. It was more like they had finally found
enough members to run classes. The short and
dumpy man, the one who had called out before,
was holding a bamboo fighting stick.
“Kawabe!” The middle school students next to
Bunshichi whispered to each other as the raised
their cameras. It seems that Kawabe was the name
of the short and stumpy man. He glimpsed over
towards Bunshichi. He silently returned the gaze.
Kawabe took a couple of steps towards Bunshichi.
It seemed as though Kawabe had taken notice of
him, who had been standing there with a cold glare
for a while.
“You here to join up?” grunted Kawabe.
“No,” said Bunshichi. He had no intention of
joining. He didn’t have much interest in pro¬
wrestling. He hadn’t even realized that there were
training halls for pro-wrestlers. He had just been
walking past, saw people training and decided to
stop and take a look. He didn’t know that it was a
training hall for a group ofpro-wrestlers.
Wrestlers have much more muscle on their bodies
than you would imagine on a normal person, but
Bunshichi thought that their fights were nothing but
one big show. He remembered having reading
comments from wrestlers that their matches were
not fixed. The are serious fights, they have real
muscles... that's what Bunshichi remembers
[ 082 ]
But then, if you wanted something serious, the
same could be said about acrobats up on a circus
tightrope, as they too are serious and have real
muscles. Being serious and having muscles were
just signs of putting on a good show. Bunshichi
thought the wrestlers bouncing each other off the
ropes of the wrestling ring was just a waste of
time. He couldn’t say he was a huge fan of the free
for all matches where people could use weapons.
It was juts too ridiculous watching those huge men
pretend that they were fighting. With that in mind,
standing here watching reasonably serious practice
fights took Bunshichi off-guard. Although didn’t
change his opinion of pro-wrestling.
Kawabe looked Bunshichi over with an unrelenting
stare. He moved a little closer. He was shorter
than Bunshichi, but he was wider around the
middle. If you were to only see an outline of his
body, he would probably look obese, but looking
at him close up you could tell that he was made of
muscle. It looked like an untrained fist would
probably bounce right off of him. The fabric of his
t-shirt, which was wrapped around his muscles,
had begun to stretch.
“You're in pretty good shape,” said Kawabe. His
voice was rough, as if his throat had collapsed. A
dark spot had formed in Bunshichi’s moss-green t
shirt from sweat.
“Beef up a little more and you'd be perfect,” said
“I was thinking the same thing,” said Bunshichi. He
stood at 160cm tall and weighed 98kgs. That’s how
big Bunshichi was back then.
He still had the body of a 25 year old. It was the
kind of body that forged through training. He wasn’t
bulky however. Bunshichi thought that putting on
my more muscle than necessary would be a waste.
“Are you in training for something?” asked
“Karate,” said Bunshichi.
“Oh, right,” said Kawabe sounding less than
impressed. It seemed like any interest he had in
Bunshichi was now gone. Kawabe turned his back
on Bunshichi. Kawabe didn’t say anything but,
Bunshichi took that as an insult.
“Wait just minute,” said Bunshichi.
“Who is the strongest one here?"
“You want the strongest?” asked Kawabe, his eyes
narrowing as he spoke, “they are all about the
same level, and we are just now trying to see
who's the strongest.”
“What about the others?”
“The older members.”
“They are all on a provincial tour.”
“Are they now?”
“Yeah, the main fighters as well as some of
openers and the main-eventer. Everyone here is
either a opener or below”. All the fighters around
the ring were standing and staring at Bunshichi as
they caught their breath. They looked as if they
thought something night happen.
“Who’s strong?” Bunshichi asked again.
“Our strongest Toyoo pro-wrestler is our boss,
right?” said Kawabe as he looked around the
[ 084 ]
A few of them had grins on their faces. Kawabe
was talking about The Great Tatsumi, their ’boss',
who was the main-eventer. It's not uncommon for
groups in the wrestling world to have one top
fighter, or a 'boss' who acts as draw-card to entice
people to come to matches. When Kawabe said
that their boss was strong, he was also talking
about his ability to draw a crowd. Bunshichi,
however, didn’t quite understand what Kawabe
was talking about. Bunshichi thought that Kawabe
might have a few screws loose.
“Let me take a crack at your strongest wrestler,”
said Bunshichi. His voice had changed. Bunshichi
didn’t even think about what he was saying until the
words had left his mouth. Kawabe looked at
Bunshichi with an annoyed look on his face.
“You're here to challenge our Dojo?”
“Forget it, you'll only get yourself hurt,” said
Kawabe before turning back again. There was a
tangible sense of nervousness that came from the
“We get people like you come by every now and
then,” said Kawabe. It was the first time Bunshichi
had heard someone call a training hall for
wrestlers a Dojo, but then if people were coming
to challenge the Dojo, then it would have to be
called a wrestling Dojo. It seemed like Bunshichi
wasn’t the first to challenge them. The other
wrestlers look genuinely curious. How far would
he get? What kind of moves would he use? Would
Kawabe take him up on his offer? Who would he
face off against? Bunshichi knew what they were
Looking around the room, Bunshichi could tell that
the wrestlers were big, but most of the them looked
quite young. They all had piercing eyes, even if
some of the them were still in their teens.
[ 085 ]
“You won't know until you let me try” said
Bunshichi, pursing his lips defiantly.
“That's what they all say,” said Kawabe as he
scratched at his neck with the fat index finger of his
“Well, I guess you can’t have a matches if you don’t
have a proper ring,” Bunshichi mumbled.
Kawabe's expression quickly changed. He looked
at Bunshichi with an intense glare. It was almost as
if Kawabe's entire body puffed up for a moment.
He narrowed his eyes, tilted his head down a little
and looked straight at Bunshichi.
“You can’t back out,” said Kawabe, slowly and
quietly, “even if you get down on your knees and
beg.” Kawabe's voice was getting lower and
lower as he spoke.
“I don’t intend to back out.”
“I don’t want to hear any complaints if you break
“It won’t be my problem if you can't walk home
because you're so messed up.”
“That’s fine,” said Bunshichi. Kawabe finally
nodded his head. Once he lifted his head, Kawabe
looked straight at Bunshichi.
“I'm gonna need you to sign an agreement.”
“Saying that you won't complain if you get your
arm broken,” said Kawabe. He had a look on face
that said 'get yourself out of here before you get
yourself hurt'. Bunshichi faced Kawabe and
returned his stare.
“You should probably sign one as well,” said
“Aren’t you the one that's going to take me on?”
“No, not me. You’d wind up dead if you took me
[ 086 ]
“I thought you'd say that.”
“It’s the same everywhere I go. Everyone I
challenge gives me the same answer.”
“They always get one of the younger members to
stand in for them. They never do it themselves. It's
always the same thing.”
Kawabe fell silent for a moment. His lips parted
slightly as he began to re-think the situation.
“No, I better not.”
“Are you going to let the boss take your place?”
“No, the boss ain’t here. He's not here, but there is
someone else that might be a good match for you,”
said Kawabe as he turned and looked behind him,
“someone get me a pen and some paper.” One of
the younger members brought over a pad and a
pencil. Kawabe took the paper and pencil and
walked over to the side of the ring. He put the pad
down on the ring and started writing something.
“Come here,” he called out to Bunshichi once he
had finished writing. “How does this sound?”
Bunshichi looked down at the paper sitting on the
ring. It was laid out quite simply.
The top line read, ’Agreement’, followed by the
'I agree that regardless of what may happen in
today's match, no responsibility will fall on my
Next to that passage there were spaces for two
people to sign their names and the date. The
lettering was quite skillful.
[ 087 ]
One of the younger fighters got the ink ready for
their personal seals.
“Sign your name and stamp you seal,” said
Kawabe. Bunshichi took the pencil, signed his
name and stamped his seal. He wasn’t really sure if
something like this would stand up in court.
However, he really had no intention of
complaining should he lose the fight. He wouldn't
want his opponent to complain either. Bunshichi
thought that a contract like this would benefit
He had watched them train and was impressed at
their strength. However he didn’t think he would
lose. Bunshichi was training as well. At least four
hours a day. He thought that his training was harder
than theirs. Also, Bunshichi thought, he wasn’t
putting on a show. He was fighting for real. He
was confident. He had taken on guys with knives
more than a few times. He had no intention of
holding back. If he let his guard down he would
wind up with a broken arm,
“Who’s my opponent?” asked Bunshichi.
“I'm not really sure who to pick. I’ll be able to
choose a good opponent once I see how good you
really are. Although anyone would do against you.”
Kawabe's voice was quiet, all the way to the last
word. There were probably some people who
made it this far only to turn around and run home.
“Go and give that punching bag a kick,” said
“You trying to see my fighting style?”
“Were not going to see your fighting style just from
a couple of kicks to a sand bag. Just give it a kick,
you don’t have to give it one hundred percent. You
were looking down on us training, weren't you?”
[ 088 ]
“Could you let me get changed first? I can’t really
move in these clothes. I’ll kick it once I’ve
“Alright, go get changed in that shower room over
there.” Kawabe motioned to the shower room next
to them with his chin. Bunshichi nodded without
saying anything. He grabbed his bag and walked
over to the ’shower room’. It was a pretty shabby
looking shower room. It was in the corner of the
hall. There was a support beam which had
tarpaulins to the left and right attached with wires.
He could hear the sound of running water.
Someone inside was having a shower.
“Someone’s already in there,” said Bunshichi.
“Who’s in there?” Kawabe called out to the young
man in the showers.
“It’s me, Kajiwara.”
“Oh, it's him.” The sound of running water stopped
as soon as Kawabe spoke. The curtain got pulled
to the side. A young man, still dripping with water,
sluggishly stepped out of the shower room.
Bunshichi felt as though a cliff face made of
muscle had suddenly appeared before him. He
stood looking at a man who was even bigger than
he was. He had small, round, charming eyes. He
was about the same age as Bunshichi, perhaps a
little younger. He wasn’t the macho type. His skin
sagged just a little bit.
He was completely naked. You could clearly see
what was hanging from his crotch. He didn’t have
much hair on his body. His eyelashes were cute
He lowered his eyes a little when his line if vision
met with Bunshichi's.
“Hi,” he said in a small voice that came from the
back of his throat. He turned and grabbed a towel
that had been hanging from a nail in one of the
support beams. He wasn’t wearing anything on his
feet. This would be the first time that Bunshichi
Tanba and Kajiwara Toshio saw each other.
Bunshichi turned his head downward and quietly
entered the shower room, all the while keeping his
gaze on Kajiwara, who was drying himself off
The tap stuck out of the wall. There was a blue
vinyl hose hung from the tap. The hose was pinned
up on the wall and at the end of the hose is what
could only be described as the head from a
watering can, which was kind of like a shower.
Bunshichi figured that this wrestling club didn’t
have a lot of money. The ring that Bunshichi was
looking at now was way below the level of the
showy wrestling rings he had seen on TV It had
been built inside a mechanics workshop. The
shower too. The place still had the smell of oil.
He looked at the shower. It was the shower that
Kajiwara had just used. It was still dripping. It
was a hand made shower. This was the first time
that Bunshichi got that strange shiver down his
spine from pro-wrestling. Bunshichi didn’t know
that east-west pro-wrestling had come about only a
year ago. The president was a wrestler known as
the Great Tatsumi, and he had quite the mainstream
wrestling following and founded east-west pro¬
wrestling. It was a federation not linked to any
television network or broadcasting commission.
Even Bunshichi knew about Great Tatsumi.
[ 090 ]
He could vaguely remember seeing him fight on
TV But even that was from when the Great Tatsumi
was still in mainstream wrestling. He wondered if
Tatsumi used this shower.
Bunshichi slowly got changed. Once changed he
left the shower room He was wearing just a loose
pair of jogging pants with a supporter. Muscles
bulged all over his body. But it wasn't the fruits of
body building. They were muscles formed from
had-to-hand combat, used for fighting. If he did
start body building, then he would surely bulk up
even more, with beautifully defined muscles, but
bodies like those aren’t suited for fighting. His
body would become rigid and kill his dexterity.
Bunshichi’s physique was ideal for fighting.
However, all over his body were marks that only
could have been left by blades.
Bunshichi walked, barefoot, over to the punching
bag. Bam. He hit the bag with his open palm.
“May I?” he asked. Kawabe nodded. All eyes
were on Bunshichi. Kajiwara looked over with
curious eyes as he noticed that something was
about to happen. He had put on a T shirt and a pair
of shorts. Bunshichi judged the distance between
him and the bag, and closed in halfway. He put his
left foot out first, put his strength into both his
knees, and held his fists up just in front of his chin.
He lowered his back a little and built up a fighting
rhythm with his elbows and stomach before
suddenly letting his right foot fly.
There came a heavy thud. The sole of Bunshichi’s
foot was perfectly stretched and was sitting
burrowed into the punching bag at a level even
higher than his head.
[ 091 ]
He slowly put his foot back on the ground. That
kick would have been powerful enough to take a
small child’s head right off it's body.
“Hmm,” Kawabe mused to himself, “you know
how to kick.” When Kawabe said 'kick', he was
referring to a kick-boxing style of kick.
“You know about kick-boxing?”
“Just a little.”
“I’ve been in the ring a few times.”
“Did you think I only did karate?”
“More or less.” As he spoke, he stared at the young
men in the room. It looked as if he was sizing up an
opponent for Bunshichi. “Kajiwara, you can go,”
he said, spitting his words at the boy. Everyone
turned around and looked. Kajiwara let everyone
stare at him, without understanding what was going
“You're going to fight this guy.”
“He said that he wanted a 'match'. You're his
Kajiwara didn’t answer, but was finally able
to understand what was happening from Kawabe's
words. He also realized that Bunshichi had come
to challenge the wrestling club.
“You saw him kick, didn’t you? I don't want to hear
any complaints if he kicks you do death,” Kawabe
said to Kajiwara.
“OK,” said Kajiwara before turning to face
[ 092 ]
There was something in his voice, and his eyes
were narrow and piercing. His head was tilted
downwards, but his viper-like eyes stabbed up
from below at Bunshichi. His wooden sandals
sounded on the concrete floor as he walked over
and pulled himself up into the ring with agility. He
had left his sandals on the floor in front of the ring.
He was barefoot in the ring. In just his T shirt and
“Are you ready?” asked Kawabe.
“Ready,” answered Kajiwara, lowering his vision.
“He's just right, ain’t he? He's 24 years old. There
shouldn’t be that much age difference between you.
He joined when he was 20, and had been training
for 4 years before that,” said Kawabe.
“10 years all up,” said Kajiwara from inside the
“The years before that were full of fights,” said
“What are the rules?” asked Bunshichi.
“Right, the rules. No kicks to the balls and no eye
gouging. That should about do it,” said Kawabe
“There are no rope-breaks and no ring-outs either,”
“No attacking a man when he's down. Just go until
the other one stops moving or if you don't think you
can take it anymore.”
“What about the agreement?”
“I'll write it in for him”
“Make sure you write it properly. I don’t want to
hear any complaints after I win,” said Bunshichi as
he silently pulled himself up into the ring.
[ 093 ]
The ropes vibrated. He took to the center of the
ring and stared at Kajiwara's face. Snake-like yes
were looking at Bunshichi from Kajiwara's
lowered face. When their eyes met, Bunshichi felt
a shiver run down his spine. Bunshichi couldn’t tell
if it was a shiver of a fighter, or a shiver of
something else. His entire body began to burn red
Kajiwara's body looked smaller than it did in the
shower room. Bunshichi immediately knew why. It
was because Kajiwara had been wearing thick
wooded sandals. He wasn’t wearing them anymore.
The sandals had made him taller by just a little bit.
Even so, Bunshichi was taller than Kajiwara. He
looked to be around 185 or 186 cm tall. He was
thicker than Bunshichi. His skin was a little loose
around his waist. It didn’t look as though he had all
that much muscle on his body. His arms and legs
looked small compared to his torso. His hair was
so short it could almost be called a shaved head.
The bell hadn’t sounded yet. They were just
standing in the middle of the ring, facing each
other. Kajiwara had thick, deep lines running
across his forehead. The skin around it was
different from the rest of his body. It was like a
mandarin in the middle of summer. There were and
uncountable number of dimples on his skin.
Bunshichi wondered if his head was empty.
There are some in the Karate world who can break
tiles with their heads. Smash twenty of them at
once with a single blow.
There were some men in Taiwan who hit nails into
wood with their heads. A hardened forehead could
do a lot of damage if it is used as a weapon. And
what else... Bunshichi continued eyeing up
Kajiwara. He looked at his ears and his nose. Both
were squashed. His nose had been flattened to one
side. The cartilage in his nose had been completely
destroyed and was now more like flesh. It would
feel like j elly if you poked at it with your finger
tip. His ears were like pieces of paper that had
been crumpled up. He would have had to have
taken a large number of attacks to the ear.
For a boxer this would have meant that he had poor
defense, but he was wrestler, so that wasn’t
necessarily the case. Even if your defense is poor,
there is a need to ready yourself for unexpectedly
strong attacks. Either way, everyone has their own
rhythm. It looked as though Kajiwara wasn't the
least bit acquainted with Karate or kick-boxing.
What he needed to be careful of, was his grappling
There are grappling techniques in Karate and Judo,
but Bunshichi was unfamiliar with the grappling
techniques of pro wrestling. There must have been
different ways to get someone into a hold and
a PPly pressure that were unique to pro wrestling. It
also seemed, to Bunshichi, that there would be
even more grappling moves in pro wrestling than
in martial arts like Judo. But in order to get
Bunshichi into a hold, they would have to catch
him first. If all they do is defend, then there is no
way they will be able to get anyone into a lock. In
order to catch Bunshichi they would have to get
ready to take any number of punches and kicks.
They both had a chance of winning. If he managed
to catch him, Kajiwara would have the upper hand.
But as long as he didn’t catch him, Bunshichi
would hold the upper hand. He wasn't faking it, but
when Bunshichi kicked the punching bag before, it
wasn’t a full strength kick.
Bunshichi would have been able to get his foot to a
higher point in less time if he had wanted to. The
kick he made before was a kick-boxing kick. That
doesn't mean it was a Muay Thai style kick.
Bunshichi drew a clear difference between Karate,
Kick-Boxing and Muay Thai. They are quite
similar but also have subtle differences. In
Bunshichi’s mind, Kick-Boxing existed somewhere
in between Karate and the Thai national martial art
of Muay Thai. Muay Thai is called Thai Boxing,
and there are people who think it is the same thing
as Kick-Boxing, but strictly speaking they should
be considered separate martial arts.
Muay Thai is a form of Boxing which allows
kicks. Much like the Japanese national sport of
Sumo wrestling, it is a martial art with a long
history. However it is entirely geared towards
actual combat. Just as it would be strange to call
Japanese Sumo wrestlers pro wrestlers, it would
be strange to refer to Muay Thai as Thai boxing.
There are aspects which are particular to Muay
Thai. Muay Thai kicks come up from the inner
WhenKawabe asked Bunshichi ’If he kicks', he
was referring more to Karate than Muay Thai. It
was a kick which flew in a wide arc. If it were a
Muay Thai kick, the kick would have come from
the knee and moved straight upwards. The type of
kick that Bunshichi planned to use in the ring were
Muay Thai kicks.
Kajiwara tucked his chin into his chest and stood
like a pole. He had lowered his face, and his
scarred forehead was staring straight at Bunshichi.
Those warm eyes from before had been replaced
with narrow, staring eyes which glared up from
under Kajiwara's forehead. They were like the
eyes of a different person. They were piercing, and
even more frightening. Those eyes looked like a
snake that could slither out at any moment.
The bell finally rang. Neither one moved. They
stared at one another. Neither of them were close
enough to make a move. Taking a step forward and
making a wide kick would close the distance
between them, but in the time it takes to make the
attack, the opponent could escape it. Nearly ten
seconds had passed. Kajiwara slid is right hand up
over his forehead. He had a cocky smile on his
lips, the right corner of his mouth bent upwards.
He slowly began moving to his left. Bunshichi also
began moving to his right as he raised both hands
in front of his forehead and gripped them lightly.
He was using rhythmic footwork. Kajiwara
followed the left side of his jaw with the back of
his right hand. Kajiwara jabbed in front of himself
with his loosely gripped right hand. Bunshichi
lightly clenched his palm. Kajiwara lightly opened
Bunshichi suddenly started moving in the opposite
direction. He raised his right leg up of the canvas
of the ring. It was a Muay Thai style kick which
came from the knee. The sole of his right foot, the
area at the base of his big toe, sunk into Kajiwara's
stomach. There was a counter. The timing was
[ 097 ]
Kajiwara loosened up, lifted his entire body
upwards and bent backwards. It was just as
Bunshichi was pulling his foot away from
Kajiwara's stomach that he felt weird sensation
corning from the middle of his leg. It felt like what
he had struck wasn't even human, more like some
kind of reptile. It was like he had kicked a rubber
coated cliff edge. It wasn't that hard, but it held
some kind of odd strength. It seemed to have a
number of layers. It wasn't made from muscle
hardened by training. If it were hard, it would have
deflected the attack with even more force. But the
muscle that Bunshichi had hit was nothing like that.
It was the type of muscle Bunshichi had never
known existed. When he returned his foot to the
ground, he closed in onKajiwara. Kajiwara
staggered as he guarded his head with both his
A succession of hits came flying down from above.
I have to take him down now thought Bunshichi.
This may be my one and only change to take
Kajiwara out. None of his punches directly made
contact with Kajiwara's head. His defense was
tight. Bunshichi began to tremble with fear as made
his punches. He had realized that Kajiwara had
already recovered from damage of his last kick to
the stomach. It hadn’t even been three seconds
since he kicked.
However, even if he was guarding, we was still
taking the punches. His head would have been
taking damage to some extent. Bunshichi could feel
something strange coming from inside of
Kajiwara's body. Kajiwara suddenly dipped his
An electric jolt ran up Bunshichi’s back. Without
thinking, he leaned his body backwards and
brought his right elbow down on Kajiwara's head.
Kajiwara tackled Bunshichi. Kajiwara's hands
grazed past Bunshichi's sides.
He had an elbow lodged in his head, so if his
speed was anything less than perfect, there would
be no way that he could bring Bunshichi down into
a hold. Even if he was unsuccessful in bringing
Bunshichi down to his knees, the tackle would
push Bunshichi’s elbow backwards, making the
blow lose around half of its power.
But even so... The kick was so powerful that it
would have caused internal damage to someone
without a well conditioned mid-section. Even if
the hit was at half strength, Bunshichi’s blow could
have caused a concussion. This was all he could
do, having taken a kick to the stomach and an
elbow to the back of the head. That was the nature
of pro wrestling.
Bunshichi groaned from his stomach. His opponent
was still just a junior pro wrestler. Bunshichi and
Kajiwara once again faced each other in the ring.
Red lines came dripping down fromKajiwara's
right nostril. It was blood. It trickled down to his
lips. Kajiwara licked the blood. A wicked smile
appeared onKajiwara's face.
“Your face is turning white,” said Kawabe from
outside the ring. But Bunshichi couldn’t hear him.
Fear had begun to spread through his body.
Kajiwara's face was swollen.
His forehead, cheeks and the area around his eyes
were bleeding on the inside. His features were a
mess. He had taken Bunshichi’s fists and feet a
number of times. He had been knocked over
countless times, but had gotten back up. He could
have attacked him from above once he fell, but it
wasn’t worth it. He would be caught in the attack
and put into a sleeper hold. Bunshichi was the
more frightened of the two.
Bunshichi kicked him over. Again he stood back
up. Bunshichi kicked him over again. And again he
got back up to his feet. He still had that smile on
his face. It was like Kajiwara was amused by
Bunshichi's kicks. But they weren’t the kicks of an
amateur. They were the kicks of a pro in the ring.
Kajiwara wasn’t very good at defending against
kicks like that. Even so, he was defending to the
best of his abilities. It was like a bad dream. It
wasn’t that Kajiwara had been getting an ass-
kicking the entire time. Bunshichi's left wrist, left
elbow and right shoulder seared with burning pain.
When Kajiwara fall to the mat again, he quickly
propped himself to his feet and stood up with
unbelievable speed. He mounted Bunshichi from
the side. A wrestling hold. Bunshichi tried to
dodge the attack. He couldn’t. Kajiwara pinned
Bunshichi’s left wrist to the mat and lifted his left
shoulder up off the mat as if using the power of
Bunshichi trying to get away against him.
[ 100 ]
Bunshichi had no idea what Kajiwara had done.
He didn’t even know how he managed to get his
hands around his wrist. He noticed that his arm
was folded. He was in pain. It was a technique
called an arm-lock, something Bunshichi had never
seen before. Bunshichi groaned. He's broken one
of my bones! Bunshichi thought of himself. A cry
escaped his mouth. As soon as he did, the pressure
on him relaxed. Bunshichi crawled away. His left
hand wasn’t moving. Bunshichi crouched down and
looked at Kajiwara, blood still trickling down his
face. His snake-like eyes had vanished, replaced
with a look of concern.
Bunshichi kicked him in the face. It was out of fear.
Kajiwara hit the mat with both of his hands. And
then a succession of kicks came at him. Bunshichi
wanted to cry. Don't get up again, he thought to
himself. Kajiwara didn’t understand why the hand
of Bunshichi's attacks were shaking. Kajiwara
rolled across the mat. He left the ring. Kawabe
wrapped a large towel around him
“C’mon, don't give up yet,” he said. It was an
unbelievable sight. Kajiwara was wrapped in a
towel and looking up at Bunshichi. Kajiwara's T-
shirt and shorts were splattered with blood.
Kajiwara wiped his hands an the towel before
getting back up into the ring.
[ 101 ]
He had that viper-like look in his eyes again. He
spat onto the ring. The glob of red landed on the
blue tarp right in front of Bunshichi’s feet. There
was white inside the red as well. They were
fragments of Kajiwara's teeth. Kajiwara slowly
pulled himself into the ring by the ropes. Rings for
pro wrestling have three ropes. They don't have
four ropes like pro boxing rings. The ropes are
surprisingly rigid. They are just wire ropes
wrapped in rubber. Kajiwara stood with his back
leaning on the ropes. Kajiwara sniggered. One of
his front teeth was missing. And then, Bunshichi's
nightmare began again.
Bunshichi was more or less fighting with only his
right arm. The next time Kajiwara got Bunshichi to
the ground was when he took one of Bunshichi's
kicks to the abdomen. He wrapped his arm around
Bunshichi’s left leg, which had hit him. He grabbed
Bunshichi by the ankle and brought him down on to
the mat. When he fell to the mat, Bunshichi’s left
leg was being held not by Kajiwara's left arm, but
by his right one. Keeping that pose, Kajiwara
crammed Bunshichi’s left leg between both of his
He began to twist his arm. A sound came from his
left ankle. At the same time as the sound,
psychological pain came over Bunshichi. No, no,
this isn’t happening. It felt like someone had struck
him over his ankles with a steel pole.
[ 102 ]
Bunshichi could hear a sound corning out of his
throat. It wasn’t the sound of him exhaling, rather
the sound of him inhaling. He had no air left in his
lungs. He was being strangled, and along with the
blocked up noise, the air had been pushed out of
his lungs. He had locked his Achilles tendon.
Bunshichi gritted his teeth. With his right leg,
which was free, he tried to kick Kajiwara in the
head. Kajiwara easily deflected the attack. His
body got rolled over onto the same side which was
Once he was rolled over he lay face down.
Bunshichi was unable to move in that position,
being face down. Kajiwara now had Bunshichi in a
different hold than before. He had folded his knees
and locked his ankles together. Bunshichi’s left
ankle was wedged in the fold of his right knee.
Bunshichi could feel Kajiwara had his right foot
between his thighs. Underneath Kajiwara's right
foot was Bunshichi's right ankle.
“Snap it!” came a voice. Bunshichi didn't know
whose voice it was. Bunshichi lifted his body up
with his elbows. Liquid started to drip down and
make a sound on the mat below him He was
sweating. There was also a lot of dirty red stains.
They were dried-up blood stains. The canvas had
not absorbed the blood which had fallen on it up
until now, it had left it there. He raised his head.
The world bathing in the blinding light of the sun
lay before his eyes. Right in front of his nose. The
two junior high school students from before were
standing with their cameras.
“The Indian Death Lock!”
[ 103 ]
One of the junior high students blurted out.
Bunshichi could hear them talking, but couldn’t
make out exactly what they were saying.
“No, He's got him in an upper reverse,” said the
other student, “It’s a move made up by some
It seemed like the pair were talking about the hold
that Bunshichi was in.
Bunshichi made a gritty sound with his teeth. He
glared forward. Something wrapped itself around
his chin. Whatever it was jerked his head upwards
He thought he was about to make a noise, but
nothing came out. It felt like his collarbone and his
spine were creaking. The sound got further and
further away. He realized that the thing which was
wrapped under his chin was Kajiwara’s hand. But
he couldn’t figure out why his hand was placed
He left his shoulder on the mat and with his right
hand tried to remove Kajiwara's grip from under
his chin. In that instant he felt a separate pressure
on his neck. The force was twisting his neck. Thick
veins began to form on Bunshichi's head. He tried
in vain to twist his head in the other direction. And
then he saw it. Kajiwara's face was looking
straight at him from his right hand side. His head,
or rather his cheek, was on the mat. He was moved
back to the side the tips of both his feet as well as
his forehead were supporting his weight, he lifted
his body off the mat and formed and arch in his
[ 104 ]
His ankle was still held in place. Kajiwara's neck
was unguarded. The sound ofKajiwara's labored
breathing echoed in Bunshichi's ear. Bunshichi
turned his right hand up. He brought the edge of his
hand down on the back ofKajiwara's neck. It was
a weak attack as Bunshichi could only use the
power from his elbow. But it seemed to have some
effect. He had broken Kajiwara's bridge. The
power wrapped around his jaw dissipated.
Bunshichi jerked his ankle away and crawled
away on his elbows. He shook free his other ankle.
His left hand had broken the hold from before with
just the power of his upper arm. He had put a
number of scratches on the mat with his elbows.
He had gotten out of the hold.
He opened his palms and tried to stand. He had no
power in his ankles. Right in front of his eyes, he
saw Kajiwara grab at his throat. He moved up to
his knees and advanced on Bunshichi. At any rate,
he knew that he needed to stop this man from
moving. He lunged at Kajiwara from his kneeling
position and mounted his right elbow into
Kajiwara's body. Bunshichi put the entire force of
his body behind his elbow and brought it down on
Kajiwara's nose. Kajiwara's head turned away
from the attack pitifully. Bunshichi’s elbow had
grazed Kajiwara's cheek and hit the mat. There
was red left on the canvas after Bunshichi pulled
his elbow away.
He used the same elbow to pull himself across the
mat as he had used to pull himself up beforehand.
[ 105 ]
The skin on his elbow had split from the last
attack. The canvas floor of the ring was like
sandpaper. It looked as though it had been created
for fights, but beneath it lay steel bones. Above
those steel bones lay wooden boards and on top of
those lay the thick mat of the ring with the tarpaulin
draped over it. At a glance, it looked just as soft,
but the damage a fighter took when falling on the
areas above the steel poles, and the area not above
them, was very different. It seemed that Bunshichi's
elbow had hit the area above a steel bar. Even if he
hadn’t hit a spot above a steel pole, his skin was
torn. If it were someone who wasn't trained, getting
body slammed on the back would have been
enough to peel the skin.
Kajiwara tried to get back up. He got up to his
knees and Bunshichi smacked him back down with
his elbow. It hit him in the forehead. It was like
being hit with a cliff face. Kajiwara went back
down to his knees. His face was covered in blood.
But there still was a smile on that face.
Bunshichi, like a madman, struck at Kajiwara with
his right and left elbows. It was like hitting a cliff
face that was bound in raw rubber. Kajiwara was
tougher that Bunshichi imagined. His elbows cut
through the air. Bunshichi sunk his elbows into
Kajiwara's head from a kneeling position.
Suddenly something smothered his head. The
amazing attack hit Bunshichi in the face. There
came a sound, pa-chi. He didn't know where the
sound came from. It was the sound of the cartilage
in his nose cracking.
[ 106 ]
It was a head-butt. A pain, like being stabbed with
needles, shot up from his nose to his eyes.
Bunshichi only just managed to block the next
head-butt with both of his elbows. A warm liquid
flowed from his nose down to his throat. Even if he
closed his mouth, there was still plenty of liquid
inside. He spat it out. A large amount of blood
stained the backs of his arms he was blocking with.
He tried to get up. His left wrist was grabbed as he
tried to prop himself up on his left knee. It pulled
with great force. It hurt like hell. He didn’t try to
counter the force that was pulling him and he let it
pull him to his feet. He kicked with his right leg. A
hit anywhere would be good. At any rate he had to
get Kajiwara to let go of his wrist. It felt like his
wrist was about to snap.
His knee hit Kajiwara's stomach. But Kajiwara
didn’t let go if his wrist. Kajiwara pulled
Bunshichi’s wrist and fell backwards. Bunshichi
fell on top of him. Kajiwara flipped his body over
so he was face-down and held Bunshichi’s wrist to
his stomach. Bunshichi again stuck his knees into
the mat trying to get away. Kajiwara slipped his
leg in between Bunshichi’s legs. He tried to roll
Bunshichi over to the side. Bunshichi struck
Kajiwara in the back of his head with his elbow.
He struck him over and over again.
Kajiwara let go of Bunshichi's wrist. Bunshichi
scrambled to his feet. There was extreme pain
coming from his left ankle. He kicked with his right
foot and fell backwards.
[ 107 ]
He saw Kajiwara. Thin lines of blood formed in
Bunshichi’s vision. Kajiwara slowly rose to his
feet. His face was a mess. Bunshichi's face wasn’t
much better. Kajiwara still had that wicked grin
spread across his lips. Bunshichi was wondering if
they would continue. Continue this fight. He had no
idea how many minutes had passed since the fight
began. It felt like that had been fighting for over an
hour. It had started to get to him mentally.
He was surprised a junior pro wrestler was able to
last this long. He wondered what Kajiwara was
made out of. He started to re-focus himself. Was
this guy special? Or maybe every wrestler is this
tough. Maybe I’m just weak. He wanted to sit
down. But there was no way he could sit down. He
tried the best he could to stay focused. He forced a
smile on to his face. He wanted to look in a mirror
to see if he really was smiling, but that thought
soon flew out of his head.
“Thirteen minutes...” came Kawabe's voice form
the side. He spoke as if he was quite surprised the
fight had lasted this long. “Well, I guess now the
real fight begins.” Bunshichi wanted to say
something to Kawabe, but nothing came out.
Because Kajiwara had faced him and come at him
with an attack.
[ 108 ]
Why? Thought Bunshichi. Why didn’t Kajiwara
break my arm? Not just his arm His shoulder,
wrist, ankle. He had four chances to break those
joints. Now having a breather. If he had put any
more strength into his attack, that fight would have
been decided in an instant. They had an agreement.
Regardless of weather it was legally binding, they
both agreed not to complain if they got am arm
broken. Although even if they didn’t sign it,
Bunshichi had no intention of laying a complaint.
But every time Kajiwara had Bunshichi in a hold,
he let him go. Bunshichi had decided that he would
only tap out if he got his arm broken. That’s why he
didn’t tap out when he was in a hold and gasping
for air. Kajiwara released his hold on Bunshichi
just before his bone would have broken. Bunshichi
couldn’t understand why. It seemed like Kajiwara
just couldn’t bring himself to break someone's arm
Bunshichi thought that Kajiwara was hoping that he
would tap out early. Bunshichi almost wanted to
tell Kajiwara to just hurry up and break his arm It
would only be a moment of pain.
He wondered how much more pain he would have
to endure. Kajiwara was persistent.
[ 109 ]
Kajiwara only aimed for his joints. He hadn’t seen
any of the drop kicks or bouncing off the ropes of
the ring like he had seen on TV He kept going for
the joints, as if that other stuff was no fun at all. He
had snake-eyes whenever he went to grab
Bunshichi by the joints. That smirk was still on his
face. It was like a nightmare. He wanted to match
to finish. If he just said the words "I’m out!" the
fight would probably be over in an instant. But he
wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it all the
way home after that. He had bragged. Kawabe
might jump in the ring and break his arm in place
Even if that didn’t happen, his body was a mess.
But he couldn’t let words of defeat leave his mouth.
That was the only thing keeping Bunshichi in the
fight. Why won’t Kajiwara break my arm?
Bunshichi wondered. Regardless of the reason, the
fight wouldn’t be over until his arm was broken.
And even if it did get broken, he would have to tap
out to end the fight. But then even if he didn’t admit
defeat, he would probably be thrown out.
Bunshichi was fighting with willpower alone. His
left and right arms weren’t working. They hurt like
hell every time he tried to move them. He fighting
that pain. He wondered if the kicks he hard learned
in Karate could be used in a situation like this. His
opponent was probably too tough.
Bunshichi was thinking about how many decent
kicks he could get in. Though maybe he didn’t have
any decent kicks left in him. Kicking with his right
or left leg would do about the same amount of
damage, and it would put strain on his already
hurting left leg.
[ 110 ]
Physical strength was the only thing left to support
him after all. He was losing the source of his
strength. He could hear Kajiwara's labored
breathing. All he could do now was rely on
counters, attacks that use the opponents strength
It was not as if Kajiwara was uninjured. He looked
a lot like Bunshichi. Bunshichi moved to the right
and readied his fists. You couldn’t call it foot
work. It was like his fists belonged to someone
else. They were as heavy as lead. He didn’t have
enough strength in his arms to support his fists.
Kajiwara moved in the same direction. He crossed
his legs and lowered his guarding stance. Kajiwara
moved. This was his chance. Bunshichi had invited
him by crossing his legs. His left leg hurt like hell
as he kicked as closely as he could with his right
foot. He put the last of his strength into his foot.
His foot sunk into Kajiwara's stomach. He felt as if
he had put a hole in that cliff face bound in rubber.
It felt as if he had s u nk his foot into Kajiwara right
down to the ankle. He won. Or so he thought.
Something shot up his back. It seemed like it could
be a cry of joy. However he couldn't let his guard
down. He followed up the kick by planting his
knee in Kajiwara's face. His hands answered
straight away. Kajiwara wrapped his arms around
Bunshichi’s leg. He felt something lukewarm on his
knee. It was the slippery, sweaty calf muscle of
Kajiwara. Kajiwara twisted Bunshichi’s knee.
Kajiwara had thrown up. His sick was filled with
blood. A sour smell filled his nose. Bunshichi
brought his hands and elbows down on the back of
Kajiwara's head, not caring where the blows
would land. He put the last pieces of his remaining
strength into those attacks. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. And
hit. Kajiwara's forehead slipped down from
Bunshichi’s left knee. The smile had disappeared
from his face. Had he win? He was about to give a
sigh of relief. Just when a feeling of relief washed
over Bunshichi’s body it happened.
Kajiwara's body slithered around. He then
disappeared from sight. He was suddenly behind
Bunshichi’s back. He couldn’t believe it. How
could he have that much energy left? Bunshichi felt
his body get lifted off the ground. Fear shot through
his body as he felt it himself being lifted up into the
Kajiwara used both arms to grab Bunshichi around
the torso from behind. Bunshichi felt weightless for
a moment. Then he fell backwards, head first onto
the mat. Bunshichi could feel the speed at which he
fell. Bunshichi's body made a clean arc and the
back of his head struck the mat of the ring. The sky
and the ground were flipped. The move was
[ 112 ]
Gravity returned. Bunshichi’s body couldn’t turn
over against gravity. A German suplex. That was
the name of the wrestling move Kajiwara had just
used on Bunshichi. He didn’t even have enough
time to ask who won. It wasn’t a three count
victory. He had sat up at some point having been in
a daze. Kajiwara had his left hand on Bunshichi’s
left shoulder from behind. Kajiwara had his right
hand wrapped around Bunshichi's face from
behind. It looked like he was going to pull
Bunshichi’s head clean off.
Bunshichi’s left hand was held behind his back.
Bunshichi no longer had enough strength to fight
back. His neck and shoulder hurt like nothing he
had ever felt before. The pain had brought him
back to life. Sound escaped his mouth. Because
there was so much pressure on his neck, the sound
which escaped sounded like the cries of a animal
about to be killed.
"Don’t you let him go!" yelled Kawabe.
"Kajiwara" the name pierced his head like a
needle as it throbbed with pain.
Am I going to die? Thought Bunshichi. He no
strength left. A cracking sound came from his
shoulder. That's when it happened. A shiver
scattered through Kajiwara's body. The force
holding Bunshichi disappeared.
[ 013 ]
Bunshichi fell flat on the mat. He knew that he
couldn’t move any more. He knew that he had lost.
He closed his eyes.
When he realized that he had lost, tears fell from
his eyes. There had been significant damage done
to the joints in and around his shoulder. A number
of people climbed into the ring and Bunshichi felt
hands on his back. The pulled him up. He looked
around in a daze for Kajiwara.
“You idiot!” came a voice from behind him. It was
Kawabe. His voice was sharp and piercing. The
sound of flesh hitting flesh rang out. Bunshichi
twisted his head around and looked behind
himself. Kawabe was hitting Kajiwara. He was
really smacking him about. Kajiwara stood there
and took the blows.
“I’m sorry,” said Kajiwara as Kawabe's had went
flying towards his face. It was unbelievable.
“WHY!?” Kawabe said, the anger in his voice
rising. He was really mad. “Why didn’t you do in
his shoulder or his arms?” Kawabe hit Kajiwara
again. He was fierce. Kawabe was asking
Kajiwara, who won, why he didn’t break
Bunshichi’s arm Kawabe hit Kajiwara again. It
seemed as though the fact that Bunshichi was still
there had left the minds of both Kawabe and
Kajiwara. The tears in Bunshichi’s eyes quickly
dried up as soon as he laid his eyes on the pair.
Bunshichi felt humiliated. There was a black, dark
fire. He felt hate build up for Kajiwara, who
wouldn’t look back in his direction. It was a bitter
hate that filled Bunshichi's stomach.
That is what happened one hot summer's day, six
[ 114 ]
“Why are you being so quiet?” asked Ryoji.
Bunshichi had fallen silent as they watched the live
hook-up broadcast of the pro wrestling match The
sake cup he held in his right hand had cracked. The
sake inside had slowly leaked out, run through his
fingers, down his arm and on to the counter top.
His elbows, which he had rolled his sleeves up to,
“They had the title taken form them back in
America,” said the American announcer.
“That they did,” said the commentator, Kawabe,
naming the city and the name of a local title.
“Will it be today? A defending match against the
“Indeed. If he can defend the title, he will be able
to go back to America with the belt.”
The screen changed over. The ceremony before the
main event was being held. The commissioner was
calling out the name of the title. Both the announcer
and Kawabe's voices spoke over the screen. The
screen changed for a second. It changed over to
man with his fist held high up in the air and the
champion belt wrapped around his middle.
[ 115 ]
That man raised his chin in the air and looked
down over the crowd. It was Kajiwara. He had
that snake-like look on his face. Compared to how
he was six years ago, he seemed to have grown as
a person. He would have turned thirty this year.
The screen quickly turned back to where it was
before. Neither the screen nor the announcers
words made it to Bunshichi’s eyes or ears. He
drank the remaining sake in one swig while glaring
at the TV screen. The long forgotten pain from his
shoulders and necks flared up.
The chicken wing face lock. That was the name of
the move that Kajiwara had put on Bunshichi six
summers ago. And he had used it on Izumi
“Let's go,” mumbled Bunshichi as he rose from his
seat. He grabbed his jacket from under the counter
and picked his bag up off the floor. He pulled some
money from his pocket and left it on the counter.
“Bro...” Ryoji called out after him, “at least get
your change.” Bunshichi was already out the door.
He pulled his jacket over himself and began
walking away. Cold wind blew right on the front of
Bunshichi’s massive body. His body was now a lot
bigger than it was six years before. His height
hadn’t changed, but he had put on a lot of weight.
He was over 100kg. His chest was really thick.
[ 116 ]
His shoulders were much wider than those around
him. There was a kind of energy that radiated from
his body into the night air. He could hear footsteps
coming from behind him. Ryoji had come
following after Bunshichi.
“That’s cold, man, just walking out of there without
me,” said Ryoji. He walked up beside Bunshichi.
I was about the same, thought Bunshichi. Bunshichi
was about Ryoji's age when he first met a named
“What are you thinking about?” asked Ryoji. He
“About someone I know,” said Bunshichi
“Someone you know?”
“I was about your age when I first met him. I was
such a smart ass.”
“I was always getting into fights, everyday. I
would never lose in a one-on-one fight. I thought
that being strong would lead me to greatness. If I
heard that someone was stronger than me, I would
purposely go and try to fight them.”
“One of those people I tried to fight was Saito.”
“Did you win?”
“I lost. I got a real beating, left me in pieces. Even
though he was smaller than me. He was doing
“So I lost, but I actually felt refreshed. I trained
under him as a student. I started going to the Karate
dojo which he ran.
“So, what about that guy?”
[ 117 ]
Bunshichi fell silent when Ryoji asked him that
question. He put his hands in his pockets and took
a few steps forward.
“Yeah. He got into a fight with a gang member and
got his throat slit.”
Bunshichi suddenly remembered the night that
happened. When Takimoto turned to face him, knife
in hand. When he pissed himself and ran. He had
intended to escape. Even now Bunshichi thought
so. He didn’t know what he was running from His
muscles cracked in his body, as if something fierce
was about to crawl out of his body. That's what he
was running from.
Takimoto just happened to be in the direction he
was running. He ran straight into him. His left arm
hurt badly. Takimoto had turned around. A knife
stuck up out of his left arm He screamed and
pulled it out. Takimoto struck Bunshichi just as he
was about to run away. It was like punching a
sandbag. Cheek. Chin. Stomach. Nose. Cheek.
Cheek. Nose. And then the kicks came. His left
arm went numb.
He fought. He fought, but was the same a Saito.
The Karate techniques that he had learned wouldn't
[ 118 ]
He lost all train of thought as he fought. The energy
he had built up to run away was now being spent
on fighting. He started to hit more than he had been
getting hit. He could feel his opponents attack
becoming less frequent, and his strength was
dwindling as well. Bunshichi felt like he got a new
burst of energy every time he landed a hit. A
sudden electric rush shot up his spine with the first
hit. Then two more rushes the second time. It was a
sensation he had never felt before.
The sensation rose from within his body. When he
had seen the blood build up below Saito's chin,
something inside of him connected itself, like
wires on a circuit board. The sensation that ran
through his body came from that circuit board and
spilled out into his muscles.
Once he had realized what he was doing, Takimoto
lay rolled over on his side next to Saito's like a
piece of discarded garbage. That was when
Bunshichi knew the path his life would take.
“What did some gang-banger cut his throat for?”
Ryoji said to Bunshichi as he walked in silence.
Bunshichi didn’t answer. He knew he had already
said too much. He had spoken too much about the
past. It was probably because he saw Kajiwara.
Since that day that Saito died until today, the only
person he had ever lost to was Kajiwara.
He had taken on opponents who were stronger than
him in the past. He had hit them all with surprise
attacks and left them crawling across the floor. He
had faced off against Souichiro, who had told him,
“I heard you fight dirty”. There had been a lot of
things that impressed him about fighting Souichiro.
[ 119 ]
First was wrestlers being able to hit with inhuman
strength. Next was their pulling power, which was
even more than their pushing power. Turning to
face one another and having a hand wrap itself
around his neck, but it was like a steel arm had
pulled his neck back. And the strength of the neck
was different to that of a someone who boxes or
does Karate. The strength of one's neck is
determined by how much damage one can negate to
the neck. On top of that, it is determined by how
well one can used their neck as a point of support
when grappled to change their body position.
How on earth does one train their body for such
strength? That’s something everyone has to figure
out on their own. The training of a wrestler begins
with building strength, taking hits and being thrown
around the ring. Fighting moves come after that.
Bunshichi had worked on his attacks, movement
and joints. Fighters of course have to temper
themselves against attacks, meaning that they have
to build a body that can take an attack even better
than it can make them. Bunshichi had, in order to
fight, trained his body, but not as thoroughly as a
Wrestlers can have up to 200 bouts in a year.
Certain overseas wrestlers have over 365 fights in
a single year. This means that there are days when
they have more than one fight. Forgetting about
things like fixed matches, scripted fights of
showmanship, that's still breaking through the
barrier into greatness. There is no other sport
which takes such a physical toll on the body.
[ 120 ]
Even compared to other martial arts, there is a
difference in the amount of actual fights. Bunshichi
hadn’t realized that the number of fights were
simply that high as wrestling had become so
commercial. There is also no other martial art
which has had as much research as grappling.
Bunshichi was thinking about the power exerted in
the five minutes between him and Kajiwara six
years ago. Even with all the attacks, the kicks and
the fists, the difference in grappling, it was really
only five minutes. What was the most different?
That was probably endurance and the speed of
recovery from when they were hit. The strength of
their muscles against attacks was the deciding
factor in that fight.
When Kajiwara saw Bunshichi’s body and
swallowed, thinking that he needed to bulk up, was
one year later. At the time, Bunshichi only had the
build for making attacks. The larger a fighters
muscles are, the more damage they are able to take.
And in turn the amount of damage which the
opponent takes increases. However, bulking up too
much decreases speed. It makes you wonder where
the right balance lies.
The right balance is different for everyone, and to
get down to brass tacks, there is a need to change
the balance depending on your opponent. Ever
since losing to Kajiwara, Bunshichi had been
thoroughly conditioning his body. He had spent a
lot of time learning to grapple. The more he
understood about grappling, the more the
understood how much more there was to learn.
Even grappling with the shoulders and elbows had
a proper method, a course to follow. You start with
the wrists, then go on to the elbows and shoulders.
But that simple method had a very tight logic
behind it. They are rules based on logic and in-
depth knowledge of the structure of the human
[ 121 ]
The grappling moves which enable to you to move
from one grapple to the next, or to free yourself
from a grapple and counter with another one, are
also clearly defined. On top of that, new grappling
techniques are always being researched and
developed. The effect of a grapple can be changed
by something as small as the position of the elbow
of the direction a finger is curved. By mere
millimeters. Grapples that rely on a person's
weight, or their 'pulling power', reach the realms
Bunshichi thought about Kajiwara. He was a
mysterious man. In the moment he had turned to
face the fight, his wide, gentle eyes change
completely. They became those narrow, snake-
eyes. During the entire fight, his lips were pursed
into an evil grin. He was like that from the start.
Even when he was knocked down and covered in
blood, the smile remained on his face.
Even though he had aimed for Bunshichi's joints
throughout the fight, he was unable to break any of
his bones. There was no point. He was a strong
man. Bunshichi couldn’t believe that he was one of
the junior wrestlers. That Kajiwara will return.
Bunshichi looked as though he had remembered
Kajiwara's face. How much had changed? Not only
had Bunshichi changed, but Kajiwara had probably
changed as well.
Bunshichi wondered where he was going. The
streets were dark. It was an asphalt road lined with
street lights. The lights of a car pulled Bunshichi
and Ryoji out of the darkness as it drove past.
[ 122 ]
Bunshichi pulled his shoulders up around himself
as he walked. His blood was boiling. It was
boiling hot and showed no signs of cooling. He
asked himself if he still hated that man. He didn’t
have the answer. But when he though about that
man, he remembered his blood coming to a boil.
He thought that in sense, he actually liked that man.
But he had to ask himself. Did he really want to
become like him?
“Bro, what's the problem?” asked Ryoji. Bunshichi
kept his eyes ahead and kept walking.
“Let's go,” mumbled Bunshichi. He mumbled those
words to himself, not to Ryoji. They were the same
words he used when they left the bar.
“Where are we going?”
“Tokyo,” Bunshichi said with a heavy tone. His
eyes still fell on the darkness ahead. It was a deep
“Tokyo.” said Bunshichi. It didn’t really matter
how far they had to go, somewhere in that
darkness, that man, Kajiwara, would be there.
PART III: THE PAST
[ 123 ]
PART IV: INTRUSION
He was a quiet man, like a cliff. Every part of his
body was thick. His head, neck, shoulders, chest,
stomach legs, hands and fingers were all fat. His
shoulders were fat. His eyes were fat. His nose
was fat. His lips were fat. The dull light that shone
from his eyes, was fat. The voice that escaped his
lips, was fat.
The one on making himself comfortable on the
sofa, held himself as a man with incredible
strength. He was there. He wasn’t a large man, but
he wasn’t a small man either. He was around 177
cm tall. A serious attitude radiated from him and
hung in the air.
He had a soft smile and a devilish look
occasionally flashed across his eyes. Matsuo
Shozan. That was his name. He was a hero to those
training in Karate all around Japan - no, all around
the world. He was the head instructor of the
Hokushinkan Karate Dojo.
The Dojos overseas under his name were in the
hundreds. Including his schools in Japan, there
would be at least 55,000 student in total.
And it was all thanks to Matsuo Shozan. He was in
the Dojo master's room at the Hokushinkan main
Karate Dojo inlkebukuro, Tokyo. It was a simple
room. There was a huge wooden desk over by the
window. It was a sturdy desk. Made from
mahogany. That desk was probably the most
expensive thing in the room. There were
photographs looking down from the wall. One was
a photo of Matsuo Shozan fighting a bull when he
was in his late 20’s. It was taken the precise
moment he brought the edge of his fist down on the
bull and broke it's horn. It was black and white.
The bull, which had jumped into the air, was right
in the middle of the photo.
The rug on the floor wasn't especially expensive.
The amount of ornaments was surprisingly small.
There was a book shelf near the far wall, with a
lounge set sitting in front of it. They only had things
they needed in places they need them. When
looking at the desk, the sofa and the rug, one could
see straight away they they weren’t part of the same
lounge suite, but somehow, in this room, they all
seemed to go together.
Matsuo Shozan sat on the sofa listing to another
man speaking. The man talking to Shozan had a fine
featured face, and was a little taller than Shozan,
but not as thick. He had a fair complexion. His
finely-kept hair fell down to his shoulders. At a
first glance, he could be mistaken for a woman, but
of course he wasn't.
He was wearing a black suit. His lips, which were
overly red for a man, along with his white skin and
black suit were crisp. It was Himekawa. You could
see the muscles from underneath the fabric of his
suit. Shozan had the fingers of both his hands
wedged into this knees. They were fat fingers. His
fists looked heavy, like weapons. They were
fingers that had taken on international Karate
masters and martial artists, had had beaten them
down. They were bare hands that could kill a man.
“So, Izumi is saying that he doesn’t need a visit.”
“Yes.” Himekawa nodded.
“Well, if the doctor says that there is no no need to
worry, then there isn't. That man had balls taking
on Izumi Souichiro.”
“Never heard the name before now.”
“Yes, I suppose you haven’t heard his name before,
but I have heard a lot of rumors about him.”
“He's been going around all kinds of martial arts
school and picking fights.”
“Challenging Dojos, eh.”
“Nobody wants to take him on, but those who do,
every last one of them, have been beaten.”
“Huh,” Shozan untangled his fingers and crossed
his fat arms.
“I had happened to hear some of these rumors in
passing, but the first time I met him was the match
between him and Mr. Izumi.”
[ 126 ]
“So you saw him fight?”
“He's a very capable man.”
“I wonder if he's going to try and challenge one of
“Well, he hasn’t yet. If he had, you would have
been the first to know.”
“While we’re on the subject.”
“The head of our Fukuoka Dojo, Mr. Kawaguchi.”
“What about Mr. Kawaguchi?”
“I heard that he got injured and is laid up in
“It seems the cause of those injuries was being
beaten by someone.”
“There's a rumor that he faced of against someone
in the Dojo and got beaten.”
“There are only three people other than the head of
the Dojo who know about it.”
“I see. If the head of one of our Hokushinkan
Dojos, which focus on full contact Karate loses to
a challenger, then that puts our reputation in
“Tanba Bunshichi...” mumbled Shozan.
“You mean the one who beat Kawaguchi was
“I can't say for sure. But after hearing you talk
about him, I wonder...”
“It seems a mysterious man has appeared on the
“There's a man out there doing all the things I did
when I was a young man. He won't stop...” burning
light flashed for a moment in Shozan's eyes. “I
wonder...” he said, flashing Himekawa with the
light from his eyes.
“I wonder who would win in a match between you
and that Tanba...”
Himekawa took in the glare form Shozan's eyes
“That’s difficult to say.”
“Saying is the easy part.”
“I really don't think I could win.”
“You wouldn’t win?”
“No,” said Himekawa before lowering his head
towards Shozan. “But I don’t think I would lose,
“That much is certain,” said Himekawa. Shozan
unfolded his arms and looked at Himekawa. His
eyes looked as if they had just discovered
something new and interesting.
“I don’t hear that often.”
“You said you wouldn’t win.”
“Yes.” A thick smile formed on Shozan's face as he
listened to Himekawa.
“Well that's no good.”
“Are you saying that I should be the one to take him
on?” said Shozan, laughing a thick laugh, “I would
like to get him into one of our tournaments.”
“That would be quite the spectacle.”
“I wonder of he could pull off an unexpected
“By the way, Himekawa, you were saying that
Tanba uses some odd techniques.”
“He used moves I had never seen before.”
“Can you remember what they were?”
“Yes.” Shozan rose to his feet as Himekawa
[ 128 ]
It looked as if a quiet cliff face had began to move.
“Can you try some of his moves on me?”
“I'll give it a try,” said Himekawa as he too rose to
He slowly moved behind Shozan and with his left
arm and locked Shozan's left arm behind his back.
He wrapped his right arm around Shozan's face
from the side. He then locked Shozan's right arm
near his left shoulder with his right hand, and
connected it with his left hand.
“I think it was like this,” said Himekawa before
releasing his grip.
“Interesting,” mumbled Shozan as he regained his
“Do you know this move, it's called the-”
“The Chicken Wing Face Lock.”
“I think Tanba said that's what someone else was
calling it, and
“What else did he say about it?”
“He said that he saw it on TV” Shozan burst out
laughing as soon as Himekawa finished speaking.
“What's the matter?” asked Himekawa.
“That's a pro wrestling move.”
“I've had it used on me before as well.”
“Really? You too?”
In the past, Shozan had faced off against not only
Karate fighters, but a large number of wrestlers as
well. Himekawa had just remembered that.
“Was that on TV?”
“Well, even if TV wrestling is a bit of a joke, a
Karate fighter using those techniques really is...”
Shozan curled his lips upwards into a grin. For a
moment he looked like some kind of wild animal,
“very interesting.” Shozan then looked over to
Himekawa looking as though he had just
[ 129 ]
“Hey,” his voice was getting lower, “Shimura and
Tsurumi are furious.”
“Shimura and Tsurumi were staying with Izumi
before you were.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Those two are planning to find Tanba and extract
their revenge. They showed up here the day that
you made your report.”
“I wonder if we should leave them to it.”
“What did you tell them?”
“I told them to leave him alone. We can’t have
fights like that, it would just blow everything out of
proportion. But maybe sometime in the future...”
Shozan scratched his head as he spoke.
“I mean that in the future. I’ll go and take on Tanba
“Do you want to know something?”
“I really love these kinds of fights.”
“You like them?”
“Well, it might be a little soon to say I really like
it, I should probably watch my tongue. Really I'm
just itching for a fight. I'm starting to regret
expanding my business so far.”
“Are you jealous of Tanba?” Shozan didn’t answer
Himekawa's question, he just sat back down on the
“The Hokushinkan would never turn down a
challenge.” Shozan had a stern look in his eye.
[ 130 ]
Himekawa looked up.
“Shimura and Tsurumi, without telling me, have
gone around all our Dojo’s in the country.”
“All of them?”
“Telling them to get in contact immediately if they
come into contact with anyone fitting Tanba’s
“And they did this in secret?”
“If they go around all the Dojos doing this, then
they know that the news will eventually reach my
ears. I know how much they are willing to put on
“If they find that Tanba somewhere, I want to be
the first to know.”
“So I can send you out to where ever Tanba is.”
“I've said that they can't do this. This is important.
Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
“Seems like they are ignoring me. There is no
helping it. We can't make a sneak attack. There will
be trouble if someone gets killed. It will be up to
you to sort out any situation you may find.”
“And if possible, I want you to bring Tanba back
here to me.”
“I want to have a look at this man,” muttered
Matsuo Shozan as he looked at Himekawa.
It was raining. The rain was cold. Bunshichi Tanba
was standing out in the rain. Raindrops were
falling on twigs which lined the path.
[ 131 ]
He was standing in front of a ten story building. He
was looking up at the third floor. On the window of
the third floor were the words 'East-West Pro
Wrestling' written in big red lettering.
The shoulders of his leather jacket had turned wet
and black with the rain. He was holding a leather
bag with his right hand. His bag was worn out. It
too was wet with rain. It was caked with mud. The
rain had leaked through his jack and begun to soak
his cotton shirt.
“What are you doing standing around in the rain?”
asked Ryoji. He was standing next to Bunshichi
with his mouth ajar. Hair was matted against his
skin. Light shone from his eyes like light reflected
from the edge of a knife.
“If you've got some business with East-West Pro
Wrestling then hurry up and get in there.” It didn’t
look like Ryoji's words had gotten into Bunshichi’s
head, but Bunshichi lowered his vision from the
third story window. The entrance to building stood
right in front of him Bunshichi walked through the
door without saying a word.
“You moron,” said Ryoji before spitting on to the
ground, “Are you going to raid the place?”
“Yep.” said Bunshichi. He ignored the elevator and
headed for the stairs.
“Are you for real?”
“Wait here if it's too scary for you.”
“I’m not scared! Not scared of a wrestler, anyway,”
Ryoji spat his words out.
They reached the third floor. The sign for the East-
West Pro Wrestling came into sight as climbed the
last few steps.
[ 132 ]
The lettering was faded and peeling. They found
themselves standing in front of that door. Ryoji
straightened his back and swallowed loudly.
“This is an office. There won’t be any wrestlers
here,” said Bunshichi over his shoulder to Ryoji
before pushing open the door. The room inside was
huge and there were about a dozen office desks
lined up next to each other. There were steel book
shelves up against the wall. You could see how
busy the place was just by looking at it. It seemed
like the kind of place where documents and papers
would pile up right in front of you on your desk
before you had even finished the job at hand, and
keep on piling up.
There were sports news papers piling up on the
floor by the wall. There were clippings left all
over the place. All the important articles had
probably been clipped out and filed away
somewhere. One of the book shelves was packed
with wrestling magazines. They were old, but
well kept they weren’t dirty. There were about six
people in the office. There was one man with a
phone in one had and a pen in the other, feverishly
jotting something down.
The first person Bunshichi noticed when he walked
through the door was a young woman going about
her office work at a table by the door.
“May I help you?” she said, rising to her feet.
“Is Mr. Kawabe here?” asked Bunshichi.
“He is.” said the woman, a little anxious.
“Tell him Tanba is here.”
“And what is this concerning?” the door behind the
young woman flew open as she spoke.
[ 133 ]
A giant of man burst out of the door, almost taking
it off it's hinges. He was a foreigner. He had a thick
muscles and a physique that you could tell he was
a wrestler just by looking at him. He wore a pair
of jeans and a plaid shirt. He was blond. He held a
leather ten gallon hat in his hands and had a fierce
look on his face. Another man came out of the
room after him. He was a little short and dumpy,
but he too had the body of a wrestler. He was
Japanese. He was wearing a white shirt over black
The foreigner walked past Bunshichi and put his
hand on the door. He opened the door and yelled
something over his shoulder. He stunk of liquor.
The man who followed him out of the room
answered back. The foreigner had said something
along the lines of “Fuck your mother and her pussy
too!” The young female receptionist spoke to him
as he walked back to his office.
“Mr. Kawabe, this is Mr....”
“Tanba Bunshichi,” said Bunshichi, finishing her
sentence for her.
“Tanba?” the man, Kawabe, said as if he was
“I came to challenge the Dojo.” said Bunshichi.
Kawabe's expression slowly changed, showing he
had remembered Bunshichi.
“Do you remember?”
“I remember you.” said Kawabe.
[ 134 ]
He smiled. “I thought you might have forgotten.”
“I remember. You were the one that did the best out
of all the people who challenged us.”
Bunshichi nodded a moved forward towards the
door, waved to Ryoji as Kawabe told the office
lady to get some tea ready. Kawabe went back
through the door which was still open. The office
was separated from the room by a partition board.
There was a desk and a simple lounge set inside.
“Take a seat,” said Kawabe as he sat down.
Bunshichi also sat down, looking at Kawabe. The
sofa was soft and sagging. It felt as if some very
important people had sat there before him
“Whoa,” he mumbled as he sat down. Kawabe
instantly knew what he ment by 'whoa'.
“That was the foreign wrestler, Crazy Dog.”
“Were you having a dispute over money?”
“Yeah, he came to complain about his salary,”
Kawabe looked up at Ryoji, who had a difficult
look on his face, as he spoke.
“You can sit down,” he said. Ryoji finally took a
seat next to Bunshichi.
“Are you his son?”
“No,” said Ryoji, “I’m his best student.”
“Oh really?” said said Kawabe, raising his voice.
[ 135 ]
“You're taking on students?”
“He's not my student. He's just following me
around,” replied Bunshichi. Kawabe looked both
Bunshichi and Ryoji over for a moment, smiled and
“Honestly, those foreign wrestlers are a pain in the
“Like that man just now?”
“Yeah. He found out we were paying him less than
Hammer Shin, and came in here demanding a high
“Basically, Shin is a second tier wrestler and has
less experience than him. But this isn’t America.
Shin draws a better crowd. This is Japan. Those
guys know how to wrestle, but they are too
unpredictable. It's no good.”
“We don’t need wrestlers who are going to jump in
the ring drunk. They always talk about jumping
ship to another wrestling branch, but I just tell them
to fuck off and do it.”
“They are so full of themselves. I told him he can
face off against Shin in the cement, and if he beats
him, then he will get his pay rise. After I said that
he shut right up and went home. There aren't many
wrestlers who have the courage to take on Shin in
the cement. They know their own limitations.”
“Like the matches that our Kajiwara does.”
Kawabe got a nostalgic look in his eyes. “How
many years ago was it now?”
“Has it already been that long...”
[ 136 ]
“You're looking in good shape.”
“Than ks . The Dojo isn’t there anymore.”
“So no one is at the Dojo anymore.”
“Well no one on this planet likes being around a
bunch of loud mouths, or being thrown into fights
when you're nearly forty. I work in an office now.
Sometimes I’m appear on TV as a commentator.”
“Those foreign wrestlers give me nothing but
grief.” Just as Kawabe had finished talking, the
receptionist came through the door with a tray of
tea. He continued talking once she had left. “So
what are you here for?”
“Same thing as always.”
“You've come to challenge the Dojo?”
“You could say that.”
“You've filled out quite a bit. Have you come to
join up?” Said Kawabe without a hint of sarcasm.
“Can I join up?”
“There are some regulations. There is an age limit,
“But, you know, you're a lot stronger now than you
were then, so I’d say you joining up would be a
possibility. I could put in a good word with the
boss for you, and he’d have to see you first...”
“You wouldn’t be able to do a main event. But
you're name definitely has value. But you would
still have to start as a junior. Even so, we've
already got plenty of wrestlers.
“Is Kajiwara one those wrestlers?”
“Could you tell me something.”
“Six years ago. Out of all the young wrestlers
there, where was Kajiwara, in terms of strongest to
“You can tell me now, can’t you?”
“He was at the top, the strongest,” said Kawabe.
“Does that put your mind at rest?”
“It sure does.”
“Even so, our juniors are juniors.”
[ 137 ]
“These guys are a little different to the others. And
they have gotten even stranger since then.”
“They have been really into kicks. They can get
their legs up like a Karate fighter. You know about
Matsuo don't you?”
“Of the Hokushinkan?”
“They would have taken you on when you were
younger, though your grappling probably would
have needed some work.”
“I guess so”
“Even Matsuo has shown and interest in our
Kajiwara, telling him to quit pro-wrestling and
join the Hokushinkan, saying all kinds of things.”
“But why Matsuo Shozan?”
“Pro wrestling Dojos often gets a lot of people
challenging them. Like you.”
“They are not normally anything special. But there
was one who came in who no one could lay a
finger on, and who walked out of the ring
himself...” said Kawabe, looking at Bunshichi to
see if he knew who it was. “That was Matsuo
“There are a lot of complex grappling moves that
both Pro Wrestling and Matsuo have.”
[ 138 ]
After the spoke, Kawabe narrowed his eyes as if a
dark light had come from Bunshichi’s eyes. A pang
of fear shot through Kawabe's body. There was a
“I haven’t told you about the conditions,” said
Kawabe, his voice had grown firm.
“Tell me if there are any,” said Bunshichi in a low
“The conditions for joining up?”
“No,” said Bunshichi, his expression hadn’t
changed. Ryoji swallowed loudly, and it echoed
through the room.
“I came here to challenge the Dojo again,” said
Bunshichi, speaking slowly and clearly so that
Kawabe would understand exactly what he was
[page 138 continued]
There was a long silence. That silence was spent
by Bunshichi and Kawabe glaring at each other.
Ryoji looked over both of their faces as he realized
the change in atmosphere. Kawabe was the first to
open his mouth.
“You're serious, aren’t you?”
“Didn't you learn your lesson?”
“I learned a lot. That’s why I’ve been training.”
“That’s right.” Bunshichi answered bluntly. “I’m
not interested in anyone else.”
Kawabe titled his head slightly to the side as the
glared over at Bunshichi.
[ 139 ]
“That’s not possible.”
“Kajiwara isn’t the same as he used to be.”
“I’m not the same as I used to be.”
“I get that.”
“Kajiwara is now a pro-wrestler with a pay
“There is no way he can face off against an
“It doesn’t really matter how strong you are now,
you're still at amateur level. You have no pulling
power, no one knows you. There would be nothing
in it for Kajiwara, even if he won. Not for him, or
for me. If he lost, on the other hand, it could put a
lot of people out of work.”
“I’m not saying I want to fight him in the ring.”
“It doesn’t make a difference. The media will sniff
out the rumor. Even if Kajiwara wins but sustains
an injury would be bad for us and our company.
And of course for Kajiwara.”
“I think you understand what I'm trying to tell
you...” said Kawabe in a comforting manner, not
trying to be antagonistic. Bunshichi looked down
for the first time.
There was a long silence. After a while, Bunshichi
slowly started to speak. His voice sounded like it
was about to spew forth from his guts like goo.
“Look, Kawabe,” he said, raising his head, “Six
years. I have waited six years, to have a rematch
“Three years ago I finally built up the courage to
take Kajiwara on again. But he wasn't even in
[ 140 ]
“I saw him on TV I was in Nara. He had already
come back to Japan.”
Kawabe didn’t answer.
“He was caught up in his business, and I in mine.
The world isn't always a logical place.”
Kawabe crossed his arms and remained silent. He
looked at Bunshichi with sympathetic eyes.
Bunshichi looked back at him.
“I pissed blood,” mumbled Bunshichi, “I have
been thinking about that fight with Kajiwara all this
time.” Bunshichi didn’t go into just how far he had
gone in his training. He didn’t have to, Kawabe
could tell how much he had trained just by looking
at him Kawabe had told Bunshichi that he needed
to bulk up a little the first time they met.
At that time Bunshichi thought that he had the ideal
body. It had gone past what would be called an
ideal body and was now in a league of it's own.
His body was heavy, like a blunt weapon. But it
was a blunt weapon with a lot of power. Kawabe
now saw the man sitting in front of him in a new
light. He looked even more impressive now than
when he walked through he door. A strange kind of
pressure came from Bunshichi’s body as he sat on
the sofa. He was a rough weapon of a man. He
seemed even more powerful than the foreign
wrestler who had just stormed out of the office.
[ 141 ]
There was just no way Kawabe could let this man
fight Kajiwara. “I can't let that happen,” said
“You wouldn’t tell me where Kajiwara is even if I
“That’s right,” Kawabe said with a nod.
“I guess I will have to do it myself,” said
Bunshichi as he rose to his feet. Ryoji shot to his
feet as well.
“I could fight you in place of Kajiwara, how does
that sound?” said Kawabe as he too stood up.
Bunshichi, who was about to turn his back on
Kawabe, stopped in his tracks.
“What was it you said to me six years ago? That I
have to do it with you?” Kawabe nodded slowly.
“Let me tell you what you told me.”
“You won't beat me.”
“You won't know if you don't try,” said Kawabe in
a stern voice.
“That’s what I told you back then,” muttered
“Yes, it was,” said Kawabe, the subtle wrinkles of
a smile forming on his face.
“But you do know, don't you?”
“I would win,” said Bunshichi. They stared at each
other for a few seconds. Bunshichi turned his back
“I know,” said Kawabe, his words hitting
[ 142 ]
Bunshichi looked over his shoulder. “You can’t
protect Kajiwara. Every day of the year”
“I can’t allow you fight Kajiwara, but I guess I
can’t stop you from fighting him either. It can’t be
“All I ask is that when you do face him, fight him
properly, no weapons.”
“However, and it's got nothing to do with me, but
you’ll never beat Kajiwara the way he is now.”
“All I can do is try.”
“You know, Kajiwara himself might decline.”
“There is no man who will sit back and silently
take a beating.”
“He's not the same man he once was.”
“He can break bones now.” Kawabe spoke loud
and clear so that Bunshichi would hear him.
Kawabe held his hand out to Bunshichi. Bunshichi
looked at Kawabe. Kawabe held his hand out in
silence. Bunshichi slowly held his hand out while
looking at Kawabe. Their hands were on top of
one another. In that moment, an unspoken attack had
begun. What kind of attack wasn’t clear to Ryoji.
The both grabbed the others right elbow with their
left hand while their right hands were still grasping
each other, and looked like each was trying to flip
the other over. The table broke. In that moment
Kawabe had Bunshichi on his back. That's when he
heard a cracking sound.
[ 143 ]
The unnerving sound echoed through the room. It
was Kawabe who let out a cry. Bunshichi released
his grip onKawabe's hand. Kawabe's index finger
was bent to the side from it's center joint.
“Mr. Kawabe...” the door opened and several men
poured into the room. They were office workers,
not pro wrestlers, called “the suits” in the
“Do you get it now?” he laughed. It was a bitter
laugh. “I can break bones as well.” Kawabe wiped
the sweat from his brow and grabbed at his right
hand with his left hand. Bunshichi faced the door.
The suits parted ways like the red sea.
“Don’t do it!” Kawabe called out to Bunshichi as
he made his way to the door. “You'll regret it!
You'll make yourself an enemy of the East-West
Pro Wrestling federation.”
Bunshichi silently made his way through the door.
Grey darkness spread out from the window. It was
a huge window. The polished glass reached from
the ceiling to the floor. It was a bar up near the
penthouse in a group of high rises in Shinjuku. The
darkness outside spread over the land for 200
[ 144 ]
Not even a smidgen of the coldness made it through
the glass. Finely tuned air conditioned warmth
filled the room. Once the air had struggled it's way
through the air conditioner, it lost its dampness and
gained an inorganic smell. It had lost all of the
smells that air should have, like rain, plants,
exhaust gas and dirt. It was the kind of air that
dried out your skin.
The lights of the city below shone in the dark. They
looked like glow worms on the bottom of an ocean
of darkness. They were so far away that you
couldn’t really see them individually, rather the
shone with beautiful multi-colored light. That's
what it looked like at a distance, through the thick,
hardened glass. The warmth from inside gently fell
to the ground once it it made it through the window.
Looking out at the world made you feel as if you
were looking down on some different planet from
above. The lights of the city looked like stars
floating in space.
The room was filled with subtle music and the
smell of tobacco. The music was an old jazz
number. It was a strange, dimly lit bar, with the
music and the low noise not quite matching it.
There was a man and a woman sharing a quiet
conversation. The sound of someone touching the
glass. Noises like that melted into the room.
There were a few foreigners there. A man sat
down at the end of the polished bar. He had his
chest puffed outwards and was thick with muscle.
He wore a blue shirt under an open navy blue
blazer. The sleeves of his shirt were sticking out
from under the sleeves of his blazer. He was
wearing them in a casual manner, but they looked
[ 145 ]
He somehow looked out of place in and among all
the men in suits and dressed up ladies. His body
was a bit big, but what really made him stand out
was his hair. He was blond. He was strikingly
blond, and his facial hair was black. He was
Japanese. He had died his hair. The window was
to the left of him. He raised a glass of bourbon to
his lips as he gazed out of the window. He was in
his early forties, forty five at the most. He had a
scars running all over his chin like a ditch. Some
of the scars still looked pink and fresh. The fingers
gripping the glass of bourbon on the counter were
incredibly thick. He was the only one sitting at the
A man walked into the room alone. He was as big
as any other man in that room He wore a worn
lather jumper over a pair of washed-out jeans. It
was Bunshichi Tanba. He walked over to the bar
and looked around. His eyes soon stopped on the
man sitting at the edge of the bar. He slowly made
his way over. He moved his body carefully, so as
not to give himself away. Bunshichi sat down next
to the man. The man looked up to see who it was
that had ignored the other seats and purposely
decided to sit next to him. He took a look and saw
Bunshichi’s body, but quickly lost interest and
looked back out the window.
[ 146 ]
The pair of them looked like a small mountain of
flesh from behind. Weapons made from flesh and
wrapped in fabric.
“I’ll have what he’s having,” Bunshichi said as he
looked down at the glass the man next to him and
then glanced up at the lone waiter behind the bar.
The bartender instantly knew what he wanted.
Bunshichi again spoke to the bartender as he began
to pour his drink.
“Some beef jerky, too.”
A glass full of bourbon appeared in front of him
The beef jerky he had ordered with it appeared
next to it a moment later. Bunshichi grabbed the
glass and poured about a third of it down into his
stomach. It was straight bourbon. No water added.
The warmth of the Bourbon spread from his mouth
down to the pit of his throat. Bunshichi slowly
returned his glass to the counter. It was a small,
thick glass. It had a design that looked as though it
had been cut up with a knife.
“What do you want?” asked the man. He still had
his back turned and was still looking out of the
window into darkness. He spoke almost as if he
was speaking to himself.
“You're Mr. Date, right?” Bunshichi didn’t speak
those words to the man, but rather into his glass of
Bourbon. The other man looked up from the
window. The man’s blond hair was right in front of
his nose. He didn't say anything. There was a
strange kind of power that followed him as he
turned around and looked at Bunshichi.
[ 147 ]
The sense of his muscles pushed through his
clothes and hung in the air.
“And what do you want?” said the man looking
back out the window.
“There is something I want to ask Date Ushio, the
“...” the man, Date, didn’t answer. He simply
brought his glass of bourbon up to his lips as he
looked out the window.
“I heard that you would be staying in this hotel
from the editor of a pro wrestling magazine.”
“We stay here every time we're in a show in
Tokyo,” said Date, “us foreigners,” he added in a
“They consider me a foreigner. Under the contract I
have with East-West pro-wrestling.” Date put his
glass back down on the counter. He slowly turned
and looked at Bunshichi. Their eyes met. Bunshichi
looked at his eyes, a deep dark light seemed to
shine from within them.
“Do you know why I’m in this bar?”
“I heard that you don't like going out much. I've
been in and out of all the bars in this hotel looking
“Huh,” he muttered and half turned back towards
Bunshichi. The chair swiveled underneath Date as
he turned his body and it made a metallic grinding
“Well, what do you want?”
“I want you to tell me something,” said Bunshichi,
not taking his eyes off Date. His line of sight came
down on Bunshichi like an axe.
[ 148 ]
He was an intense man. A normal person could
only look him in the eye for no more than a few
seconds at a time.
“Tell you what?” said Date, growing a little
“Tell me how to break in.”
“Break in?” said Date, there was now a little
power behind his voice.
“Break in,” Bunshichi said again. That was
followed by a brief silence.
“Are you crazy?”
“I may be crazy, but I'm serious.”
“Seriously?” if they weren’t in a bar he would have
screwed up his face as if about to spit something
“Who are you? You don't look like an amateur,”
said Date, his voice had grown a little thick. The
voice was rough, like it had over flowed from his
throat. He slowly looked Bunshichi up and down.
“I’m a wanderer.”
“I could tell that just by looking at you when you
walked in the door. But that's not what I’m asking
you,” his voice was strangely calm, “I want to
“There is a man who I really want to fight.”
“Kajiwara,” said Bunshichi. A different kind of
light shone in Date's eyes.
“You're the one who broke Kawabe's finger.”
“So you have heard of me.”
“Oh, I heard. I heard there was some fool who
wants to take on Kajiwara.”
[ 149 ]
“Well then I don’t need to explain myself.”
“No, I think you do. Why did you come and see
“I might be getting paid by the East-West Pro¬
wrestling federation, but my name isn't on their
register. Even though I’m not, I still don’t like
people who try to mess with them.”
“I’m not trying to mess with them. I even told
“Well then are you trying to mess with me?”
“The federation would probably give me a bonus if
I did you in right here and tossed you trough that
“I thought you had a grudge against the federation,
against The Great Tatsumi,” said Bunshichi.
“Weren't you the reason that he jumped ship to the
Central Pro-Wrestling circuit?” Bunshichi put an
odd emphasis on the word 'you'. As soon as he had
finished speaking, Date tensed his entire body. He
“Seems like Tatsumi’s coup is pretty famous in this
business. You weren't there when Tatsumi’s made
plans after making his coup. But it seems that you
tipped them offbefore it even happened, and that's
why it all blew up. He was chased by the Central
Wrestling Federation and formed the East West
“By the way, what broke down at the Central
Wrestling Federation was its main event, you. So
you decided to go overseas to avoid having to start
from the bottom in the East West Wrestling
Federation. It seems that Tatsumi is calling you out
as a traitor.”
[ 150 ]
“I don't know where you heard all that, but you
shouldn’t go running your mouth.”
“And now you're receiving money from the Great
“Don’t push it.” Date's muscles tensed under his
“I read about it in a book about pro wrestling.”
said Bunshichi, his tone suddenly turning a little
“What the hell would know?”
“You shouldn’t believe everything you read. There
is no way we have been living in a world as
fantastic as all of that. The story always changes
depending on the opinion and position of who's
telling the story. Everybody thinks they know it all.
“It’s just that the papers take more notice of what
Tatsumi is saying than you.”
“I certainly do hate that guy, but there is a world
out there that only wrestlers really understand.”
There came a cracking sound from between Date's
fingers as he finished speaking. A crack had
formed in his thick whiskey glass.
“Shit.” Date looked at his right hand. A shard of
glass had wedged itself in around the base of his
thumb. Blood dripped from the point where it was
[ 151 ]
Date licked it up with his tongue.
“Are you alright?” asked the bartender when he
noticed the blood.
“I’m fine,” said Date. The bartender brought over a
first aid kit/box, but Date told him he didn’t need it
as he wrapped a handkerchief around it. People
around him had noticed too.
’That is Date the Ox', 'He's a pro-wrestler', 'He's
the one who fights those fixed matches’ came the
low voices from behind him.
“I guess those wrestlers really do get a surprise
when they bleed for real,” came a voice from right
behind the pair. It was the same voice that had
mentioned fixed matches. Date stood up.
“Who said that?” he said, surprisingly blunt. He
glared at the tables behind him. In one of the seats
sat a middle aged man in a suit. There was with a
woman with him who was all dressed up. They
didn’t look like a husband and wife. It looked more
like they had come to relax at the bar before
heading up to their hotel room for some fun.
The man’s face was red. He’d had a bit to drink.
Date's eyes were glaring straight at him.
“It was you,” said Date.
“What are you talking about?” said the man. The
man looked about the same age as Date, but there
was a world of difference between their
[ 152 ]
“What did you say just now?”
“You mean the fixed matches?” said the man, his
voice trembling slightly, “All I did was tell the
truth.” All the man could think about is whether or
not Date would lash out of him in the bar of a hotel
with all these people watching. There were women
present as well. A wrestler would get temporarily
banned from matches if they were found attacking
members of the public.
Without saying a word, Date moved in front of
“Sir!” the bartender called out.
“It’s nothing,” said Date. He held his forehead in
his left hand. He held the shard of glass that he had
pulled from his right hand a moment ago. He
pushed the shard of glass into his forehead, around
where his hairline ended. He had a lot of power
built up in that hand. A small sound echoed through
the silence that had returned to the table. There
were tearing and scraping sounds. Date had
stabbed the shard of glass into his forehead and
pulled it downwards. The redness in the man's face
began to turn pale.
The woman gasped. A deep red line in Date's face
grew bigger as he pulled the glass downward.
Date put his face right in front of the man at the
table. The red line had flowed down the side of his
nose and into his lips.
[ 153 ]
Before the red could build up around his lips,
Date's huge pink tongue crawled out of his mouth
and mopped up the excess blood. The woman let
out a cry and rose to her feet. The man tried to
stand up as well but his knees struck the underside
of the table. The glass of wine sitting on the table
got knocked over and the red wine stained the table
cloth a deep red.
“Y-You...” The calmness of the man had been
completely torn away. He stood up and pointed
with his wine-stained, trembling finger. Date spoke
before the bartender, who had come out from
behind the counter, had a chance to open his mouth.
“It’s nothing,” said Date with a deathly piercing
voice, “I'm the one who’s hurt. These two are fans
of mine, I came over to say hello, but when I
touched my face the glass from the cup was still
lodged in my finger. I think I shocked my fans a
little bit. It’s my fault, really,” he said, looking at
the man with a smirk. The man nodded earnestly.
“You'd better clean all of this up,” said Date as he
dropped his blood splattered cup into the
bartenders hands, turned back towards Bunshichi
and smiled with a mouth of crimson. “Where can I
wash up?” asked Date. The bartender pointed to
the far side of the bar.
“We don't have anything more to talk about. So just
disappear before I get back,” said Date looking in
Bunshichi’s direction. The muscles in Dates body
had swelled even more than before. It seemed they
had swelled along with the bleeding. His voice
had become calm.
Just as Date had disappeared towards the
washroom, a voice came from the entrance of the
[ 154 ]
The patrons of the bar looked over with piercing
eyes as Kubo Ryoji entered the room. Ryoji thought
the types of people who come to bars like this one
to be nothing other than mortal enemies. It seems
that Ryoji, in a pair of jeans, stuck out even more
than Bunshichi. Even if he wasn't young, a weaker
willed person would have been pushed out of the
bar by it's atmosphere alone. Facing the
atmosphere, there came a feeling like someone
wanted to kill you which ran right through the
“Bro, I finally found you.” Ryoji stood next to
Bunshichi at the bar and spoke in a low voice.
“There are some guys looking for you in the
“Just like I said, they are waiting in the lobby.
There were just two of them. Strange guys. They
asked me about you.”
“What did they ask?”
“They asked where you were. I had to answer
them, but I told them I didn’t know where you
“What kind of men where they?”
“They were Karate fighters. They had Karate
blisters all over their hands. They looked like two
“Karate fighters, huh.”
“They are out to get someone, I got really bad
feeling about them. Do you know anyone like
“Too many to count.”
“I pretended that I need to go to the toilet. I think I
“I wonder,” said Bunshichi.
“You wonder? What are you talking about?”
[ 155 ]
Bunshichi’s line of sight was set squarely behind
“If those guys over there are the Karate fighters
you were talking about, then you didn’t lose them,
rather you led them right to me.”
Ryoji's eyes swung upwards. He looked behind
himself. There were three men standing at the
“It’s them” Ryoji felt a burning sensation from
deep within himself.
“So there were three of them.”
“Damn it,” spat Ryoji.
Two of them had threatened Ryoji, but Ryoji hadn’t
seen the third one. They had tailed him. They had
that intention when they first called out to Ryoji. It
looked like Ryoji had accepted it. The trio slowly
made their way over to Bunshichi. You could see
their muscles rippling beneath their shirts and
trousers as they walked.
The three men stood around Bunshichi, as if he
were wrapped up by them. They weren't too close,
nor were they far away. They were far away
enough that Bunshichi wouldn’t be able to punch or
kick them, but also close enough that Bunshichi
wouldn’t be able to make a break for it.
“Bunshichi Tanba, right?” Said one of the men.
Bunshichi nodded. All the eyes in the bar were on
Bunshichi and the three men. The man and woman
from before, who had been sitting at the table,
were gone. There was a strange air that focused
itself around Bunshichi.
“Please, you are disturbing the other customers...”
said the bartender.
“We’ll be leaving soon,” said Bunshichi.
[ 156 ]
A pair of eyes glared down at Bunshichi.
“What?” asked a throaty voice. Date had returned
from the washrooms. He stood behind the three
men. He had a blood soaked handkerchief wrapped
around his right hand and a piece of cloth the same
color as his shirt wrapped around his forehead.
The sleeve of his shirt no longer poked out from
under the right hand sleeve of his blazer.
“They're with me, please don't worry about it.”
“Really?” said Date as he sat back down in his
“Could we please speak with you outside?” said
one of the men.
“Before we do that, why don’t you tell me who you
are.” One of the men opened his mouth after
hesitating for just a moment.
“We’re from the Hokushinkan. I’m Matsumoto,” he
“Gotou,” the three men gave their names.
“Kawaguchi from Fukuoka, and you must have also
faced off against Mr. Izumi in Nara.
“I certainly did,” answered Bunshichi in a low
voice. The three men suddenly became stiff, tensed
“This time I want you to take on the challenge of
the three of us,” said Matsumoto, his voice was
hard as stone.
“There is a park quite near here.”
“Alright.” Bunshichi stood up.
“Hey!” Date called out after Bunshichi. He looked
back towards the counter, the glass was still turned
“You'd better pay for the booze you drank...”
Bunshichi pulled a crisp 5 thousand yen note from
his pocket and casually placed it down on the
“Let's go.” Matsumoto, Ikami and Gotou all
followed after Bunshichi as he walked towards the
It was a quiet park surrounded by trees. So quiet
you wouldn’t think there there is a road carrying a
constant stream of cars nearby.
Towering skyscrapers stood behind the branches of
cherry blossom trees. Bunshichi was standing in
the dirt. He had taken off his jacket.
His muscles were wrapped up with the cloth of his
t-shirt. His legs were like tree trunks and pulled at
the denim of his jeans. They weren’t made for
someone who needed to lift their legs high or give
their joints a free range of movement. He had on a
pair of leather work shoes. The three men standing
in front of him weren’t as muscly as Bunshichi, but
they had fearless looks on their faces. They had
builds not unlike frightening gangsters. Frightening
may be frightening, but that was a part of the
Yakuza. However there was also a certain
something that put them apart from regular people.
It wasn’t like they had tempered and conditioned
their bodies, more like their physique was
something they were born with.
They gave off the same kind of tension as seeing a
weapon which is made to kill people. There was a
single street light that illuminated Bunshichi and
the three men in the darkness. The three men would
have been around three of four years younger than
Bunshichi, in their late twenties. Matsumoto
looked the strongest.
It was early spring but the evening air was still
cold. Ryoji was standing a little off to the side. He
was wearing a leather jacket with the sleeves
rolled up. The sounds of cars tooting heir horns
and engines humming drifted into the park. Those
kinds of sounds were to be expected, but they
sounded so far away that they didn’t even seem
They hadn’t closed in on each other close enough to
make a punch or a kick. A few more steps would
have to be taken for that to happen.
“Three on one, huh?” said Bunshichi. It didn’t
particularly look as if Bunshichi was worried
about a three on one match. He was just standing
there wondering who he would take on first.
Bunshichi was standing there with his legs casually
ajar, his body seemed very stable. He lightly
moved his elbows around and put more tension
into his body. It was a fighting stance without being
a fighting stance. The tension the could be felt
coming off of Bunshichi which made it look like he
had taken a fighting stance.
“Who’s first?” asked Matsumoto.
“Any one of you,” said Bunshichi. Matsumoto
“Well then, how about we go three on one then.”
The three had given their names and Bunshichi had
accepted their challenge. That's what Bunshichi
had done. It was unexpected, but seemed to be
unraveling into a typical match. Bunshichi wouldn’t
mind taking on all three if need be.
Even if they all came at him at once, that would
still be within the rules of the fight. The three of
them showed their worth when they agreed to fight
as part of the Hokushinkan, which teaches full
contact Karate. Winning would be a true virtue. It
would be real underground Karate.
That's the way that Matsumoto would want to do it.
“That's dirty,” mumbled Ryoji.
“Alright, but then I won’t go easy on you,” said
Bunshichi. He looked at Matsumoto to the right,
Ikami in the middle and Gotou on the left. Even if
they weren’t the head of their respective classes,
they looked like they could be strong enough to do
so. They also weren't the type of Karate fighters
who pulled their punches. From paired karate-kata
to hitting the body. The two or three centimeters
that the non-contact karate fighter stopped at
wouldn’t be enough for full contact karate. You
could use it in amateur Karate, but if your opponent
was an experienced fighter, one centimeter could
mean the difference between a victory and a loss.
Not only strength, but fear also allowed to you
make steps forward. But the person standing in
front of Bunshichi was not that kind of opponent.
Matsumoto and Gotou suddenly moved out to the
side, leaving Ikami in the middle. That's when it
happened. Bunshichi moved to the right like a
black gust of wind. The closed in on Matsumoto by
a few steps. His movement was a surprise to his
opponents that were neither ready to take or make
an attack. The moment you make a singe move it is
too late to make a separate move. It takes a certain
amount of time. And in that time they came even
closer to Bunshichi.
[ 160 ]
When they did, Bunshichi's fist went flying straight
into Matsumoto's face. Matsumoto went flying
backwards without making a sound. He fell face
down with his mouth still open, and his eyes still
open, knocked out cold.
Matsumoto had tried to get a kick in before he got
hit, but his poor timing and lack of balance meant
that there was no need to try and block it. The
feeling of smashed muscle and cracked bone ran
through Bunshichi’s hand. If a Karate fighter had
kept his distance and faced the enemy, the fist
attack would be a kick, not a punch. The leg has a
better reach and can hit an opponent from further
away than the arm They almost never get a punch
as the first attack. That's why Bunshichi decided to
use his fists.
Bunshichi turned to Ikami, who had gotten ready to
join the fight, bent his body over and let his leg fly.
Bunshichi did this almost at the same time as he
punched Matsumoto, as if it were a single move.
Bunshichi’s leg, with all his weight behind it, sunk
itself into Ikami's mid-section. His foot had the
power to split Ikami’s abdomen apart. Ikami’s legs
flew up in the air as he flew backwards. Bunshichi
tightened his arm movements, clenched his fists
and turned to face Gotou. That was enough to stop
Gotou in his tracks.
A thick crimson began to form in Matsumoto's
mouth. Blood from his nose was running down
both sides of his face and form a pool on the
ground. Ikami was on the ground, making some
kind of noise, almost like he was saying a prayer.
The contents of his stomach was coming out of his
[ 161 ]
A sour smell filled the night air. Gotou didn’t
move. He had turned pale.
“Why are you coming after me?” Asked Bunshichi.
Gotou didn’t answer. Bunshichi suddenly
remember the long hair man who had been with
him when he fought Souichiro. Himekawa for the
Hokushinkan. Izumi had introduced him.
“Did someone tell you something?”
“No,” said Gotou as he moved back slowly so as
to get out of the line of fire. Bunshichi moved
towards him as he moved back. He wasn’t getting
any further away.
“We were just looking for you. And when we
found you, we were supposed to report back to the
head office.” Then without any warning, they had
planned to sort it out all by themselves. Beads of
sweat had formed on Gotou's brow. Still in a
fighting stance, Bunshichi moved back from Gotou.
“We should probably call it quits, huh?” said
Bunshichi, “I can’t go and do over the only guy
who can look after these two, or else I'll have to
call the ambulance myself.” Bunshichi continued to
put more distance between them and relaxed from
his fighting stance. Gotou felt all the power drain
from his body. Bunshichi hadn’t even broken a
“Let's go,” he yelled over to Ryoji.
“That was awesome!” Ryoji finally answered
back, “You totally wasted the Hokushinkan!” he
went on, too excited to conceal his voice.
Bunshichi turned his back on him and began
making his way over to the entrance of the park.
“Wait! Hey bro, wait for me!”
[ 162 ]
Ryoji followed after Bunshichi. From the shadows
cast by the cherry bloom tree's branches above, an
even bigger shadow emerged right in front of
“That was really something,” said the shadow. It
had cloth wrapped around its head. Standing right
before him was the same man he had talked to in
the bar, Date.
“You were watching?” said Bunshichi, stopping to
look at Date.
“Yeah, I took a peek.”
“But it had nothing to do with you?” said
Bunshichi. Date turned his head a fraction to the
side before he answered.
“I heard it was about the Hokushinkan”
“Yeah, it seems as if you've made an enemy of
“They're not my enemy.”
“Yeah, but they don't think so.”
“Taking those guys on one by one with Matsumoto
being the last opponent would have made things a
little harder,” said Date with a wry grin, “Taking
them all on at once, letting them think they have the
upper hand before smashing them, you've got balls,
that's for sure.”
“You guys are the ones with the monopoly on
hitting before the bell,” Said Bunshichi. Date let
out a laugh.
“You're funny, you know that?”
“No, that's first time I've been called funny.”
“I like guys like you.”
“Do you now?”
“I just want to ask you one thing?”
“Why do you wan to fight Kajiwara? Is it the
money? You think you'll sell out a stadium if you
[ 163 ]
“I just want to fight him.”
“Yeah, but why?”
“I lost once to Kajiwara. He grappled me and
made me scream I can still hear the sound I
made.” A dark flame smoldered in Bunshichi's
eyes as he spoke.
“You could call it that.”
“You're a strange one.”
“I just have a simple motive.”
“I fight for money. I got into Sumo wrestling to
feed myself, keep my gut full. I got into pro¬
wrestling because I wanted money.”
“I heard you were a top-tier wrestler.”
“Yeah, but you're the type who would become a
wrestler if there was money in it or not,” said Date
as he glanced at Bunshichi.
“And so is Kajiwara. Maybe even more so than
“Yeah, like you, he can’t stand the existence of
anyone stronger than himself. In that kind of was,
he's even more intense than you.”
“You don’t say.”
“Yeah, I’m not even sure I think he's from this
planet. Pro wrestling isn't that far removed from a
regular business. Only the truly great people stick
“Kajiwara is truly great then?”
“I’d say so. I want to ask you one more thing.”
“About what you said before. You want to jump in
the ring with Kajiwara, don’t you?”
“To fight him, yeah.”
“Amateurs can't just jump into the ring.”
“I’m not an amateur.”
“You're an amateur in the world of pro wrestling.
Though you could be pretty good for the ratings.”
“Storming the ring?”
“Do they have pre-match meeting about this or
“In a sense.”
“In a sense?”
“There are times when they do have a proper pre¬
match meeting, but sometimes they don't.
Sometimes the only person who knows about it is
the one storming the ring, but there are other times
when the guy in the ring knows what's coming.”
“There are times when the promoter organizes to
have someone storm the ring. For money.
Sometimes it helps to sell more tickets. And there
are some that storm the ring to try and make some
money for themselves as a wrestler. But regardless
of why you want to jump in the ring, there are rules
“For example, regardless of how you do it, the
promoter needs to be told about it.”
“Yeah, to tell if it's going to make any money or
“It will be something you need to discuss. Whether
the punters will be interested in it or not.”
“The style...” said Bunshichi.
“Yeah. Whatever industry you are in, you need to
have your own style. Or else you'll never make it
too the top. A wrestler can't afford to be stupid.
Whether a business man or a gangster, an idiot will
always be third rate.”
“At the end of the day, the world of pro wrestling
runs on a system or seniority. There is a rigid
system in place. The places are already decided.
Junior wrestlers aren't allowed to beat senior
“How do they decide the placing?”
“That's a tricky question to answer. It's decided in
the persons career, how controversial they are and
a bunch of other factors.”
“But that's not the only thing you have to worry
“You are able to make it to the top. As soon as you
reach that level. I said that junior wrestlers aren’t
allowed to beat senior wrestlers, but in special
cases they can. If the junior wants to win. You can
ignore the offense-defense of bouncing off the
ropes. On cement.”
“But even so, it's really hard for a junior to beat a
senior. Because there is a referee. A large part of
how the match turns out depends in the referee.
They're just salary men, really, even if they call
themselves referees. The companies don’t wrestle
at a disadvantage. But even so, there are some
wrestlers who win.”
“And what happens when they do?”
“Quite a bit, actually.”
“You'll have sanctions put against you if you ignore
the theory behind wrestling.”
“What kind of sanctions?”
“There are some times when they will put you up
against a much stronger opponent for a beating,
and it also affects your salary. Sometimes the
wrestling outfit will cut their contract with you.
And maybe you might get attacked by a man with a
knife as you walk home late at night...”
[ 166 ]
“But there are some people that make the big time
by doing that. Just as long as they draw a crowd.
Just as long as they are a wrestler that can generate
some money. As long as you bring in the punters,
and thus bring in the money, and the fans, the
promoter will protect you.”
“There are a lot of wrestlers that break legs and
arms. That’s just lip service. If they really did
break someone's leg or arm in he ring the mass
media would be all over it in no time. That’s for
Date looked at Bunshichi but remained silent.
There was a self-deprecating smile that shone
through his eyes.
“We’re getting off track. You were talking about
“You were saying that you wanted to storm the ring
and take on Kajiwara.”
“That I did.”
“That won’t be easy...” said Date, glancing away
from Bunshichi. The slim cherry blossom branches
moved with the wind.
“You've really got to put on a show, and even if
you do get out there you no one will know who you
are.” Bunshichi grinned as Date spoke.
“Something funny?” asked Date.
“I didn’t pick you to be such a serious person,”
said Bunshichi. Date grinned. The cloth around his
head was stained red with blood. But his smile
disappeared with the gentle breeze.
“The Hokushinkan, huh?” He said, spitting the
word out into the wind.
“Do you have a history with them?” asked
“I've fought that Matsuo before, you know. In the
“Matsuo Shozan check name?”
“A while ago. When we were in the central pro¬
wrestling circuit. I was a lot younger then. It was
only my second year wrestling. I told you before
that I was in it for the money, but that wasn’t
entirely true. I really wanted to get stronger. I was
confident, too. At the time I thought I was the best
fighter in my circle.” Date wasn't looking at
Bunshichi anymore. His eyes were gazing out into
the darkness and the wind. “And then Matsuo
came. Just like you. He came to challenge the
“Yeah. I was his opponent. Just me. No one else
wanted to fight him and I was the top fighter out
who was left at the club.”
“I lost. Utter defeat.” Date drew back his lips to
expose his teeth as he spoke. They were white and
sturdy. “These aren’t my teeth. Matsuo knocked
them all out,” said Date. A vision of Date with a
bloody mouth appeared in the back of Bunshichi's
head. “He messed me up with his punches and his
kicks, then got me at the end with a shoulder-hold.
There has only be one man who stepped out of the
ring without a scratch - Kawabe's words floated
through Bunshichi's mind. That might have been
[ 168 ]
“He's not human. But he's not a beast either. That's
the impression he gave me. He's huge. He felt like
a ball of pure strength. If he takes anyone on, even
the strongest of the strong, who had trained for
years, he would still beat them. Pro wrestlers are
nothing compared to him. You'll know that power
when you see it. I couldn’t see it when I took him
on. I couldn’t see how far apart we were in terms
of power. That's when I gave up on trying to be
strong, and became a wrestler for money.” Said
Date. Something stirred inside of Bunshichi.
“Matsuo Shozan...” his voice grew a little horse as
he mumbled the name.
[ 168 ]
The arena was engulfed in the excitement and
energy corning from over three thousand people.
The Korakuen Hall. It was packed with spectators,
some o which had to stand. Date, who was using
the name Raging Bull, along with the Crazy Dog,
had just finished a tag team match against
Kawafuta and Wakabayashi from the East-West
Wrestling federation. There was a ten minute
interval they called ’ring maintenance'.
Halfway through the fight, Date and Dog grabbed
some weapons and drew blood from Kawafuta's
face. It was an amazing fight. Kawafuta was
smacked down in the middle of the ring, unable to
move, and Date had slammed his body down on
him countless times. Then Wakabayashi had come
flying in from the corner and landed a kick in
That's when the arena went wild. The amount of
excitement and encouragement had crossed the line
of what was normal for an event like this and had
started to get out of hand. Regardless of the stops
in place, it was starting to boil over. The crowd
was going wild, and the wrestlers were following
Dog was full of tension and had moved himself
around well, but the biggest reason for the
commotion was because Kajiwara's match was
next. Date had finally found a weapon, and when
he went to get it he had been distracted by the ref,
and then had taken a fly-kick. That was when Date
and Dog had lost due to a rule violation.
Futakawa, who had his head split open, and
Wakabayashi had their hands raised by the ref and
won, but on that day, there were no losers. They
had managed to push the fight beyond that of a
simple wrestling match. They had managed to get
the crowd into the action without any of the
wrestlers getting injured, and would now be on
their way to the semi-finals. The fight still lingered
in the air.
Bunshichi was standing at the foot of the catwalk.
From there he was looking out over the ring, which
was illuminated with bright light. It had a strange
air to it. A ring with no one standing in it seemed to
bright and a hollow. A vision of the man who
should be standing in that ring floated in the back
of Bunshichi's mind. A man whose skin sagged just
a little bit. He wasn't the type with a muscle
crammed body, and his skin gleamed like the
scales of a snake. Kajiwara.
Bunshichi rolled he man’s name around in his
mouth. It felt strange. The vision that floated in
Bunshichi’s head was of those big round eyes he
saw six years ago.
[ 170 ]
Those eyes that turned sharp and piercing as soon
as he stepped into the ring. They were thin like a
snake's eyes. The only things he could think about
was his face and that he had a body like raw
rubber. Bunshichi wondered how much he had
Bunshichi stopped thinking about it. He only had
five minutes. He felt strange when he thought about
Kajiwara. He really asked himself if he really
wanted to take him on again. There were times
when that black flame that burned all through his
body was finally starting to cool down. He thought
that he was being petty, acting like a child.
It was just then that the searing pain shot through
Bunshichi’s shoulder and was reborn in the same
place. He thought about that pain, remembered
Kajiwara as he would have looked down at him as
he was panting. And of course the fire lit by the
humiliation of defeat. No matter how you looked at
it, right now Bunshichi could not think about
anything without thinking about Kajiwara as well.
Bunshichi thought about the look Date had given
him as he got down from the ring. “Here”, that
night Date pointed to his forehead with his finger.
It was in Date's room in the hotel. They were
sitting there sharing a bottle of whiskey that came
with the room. Ryoji was there too, drinking a
whiskey mixed with water. Blood was no longer
flowing from the wound in Date's head.
Raw red flesh hung from the spot where Date had
used his finger on himself.
[ 171 ]
“Do it here,” said Date.
“Bleed a lot, even if you only have light wounds.
There isn't as much damage for the amount of
blood. If you're aiming at getting in the ring, do it
here. You have to do it in the first hit. There won’t
be a next time. There will be a bunch of young guys
all over you. But those young guys probably won’t
know what to do straight away. You need to take
them out before they realize that you jumping in the
ring isn’t part of the show. They’ll beat you half to
death if they catch you. They'll really mess you up.
No matter how strong you are.”
“If your aim isn't to hurt Kajiwara, then get the hell
out of there. Try to get him to bleed as quick as you
“A TV crew will be there on the day. They will be
recording. There might even be some sports-mag
reporters there as well. And the guy that Kajiwara
is going to face. Whatever you do, don’t jump in
there while the fight is on. It’s too far to try and
make it to the exit, and people always complain
about coming in second. You need to be close to
the exit when you get out of there.”
“If you're not too messed up, and even if you don’t
want it to happen, the east-west wrestling
federation is going to look for you. When that
happens, get in touch with the wrestling worlds
mass media, and tell them that you were the one
that jumped in the ring with Kajiwara and that you
want to take him on again. If it all goes to plan, you
might get a better result that you thought. But then
you will have to get back into a east-west pro
“That doesn’t sound easy.”
“If you don’t want to do that, you could always
challenge Kajiwara to a fight somewhere private.
You might be surprised how willing he is. Don’t
know what Kawabe will have to say about it,
[ 172 ]
“Well whatever you do, there is no guarantee it
will go as planned. There are a lot of ins-and-outs
in this business. There isn't much more I can do for
you now. I’ll just get myself a good seat on the day.
It doesn’t have anything to do with me whatever
happens between the you and Kajiwara. I'm only
going there as a spectator.” Date's words lingered
in Bunshichi's ears.
The lights of the arena finally dropped. The arena
was draped in darkness. The only lights in the
building shone onto the ring. A fast and intense
rock beat sounded out from within the darkness.
The arena exploded with energy. The sound of the
crowd was unreal. A deep sound echoed in the pit
“KA-JI-WA-RA” People were putting extra
emphasis on the first part of the name and clapping.
The voices quickly filled up the arena. Kajiwara
had lost the championship belt in a fight in
America just before corning home to Japan. He had
come home dethroned, but it seemed that the fans
Suddenly a bright spotlight fell just behind where
Bunshichi was standing. The half naked body in the
spotlight started moving in time with the rhythm
Kajiwara wasn't wearing a robe or a gown or
anything like that. He looked just the same as he
did when he was in the middle of a fight. He had
on a pair or wrestling boots over a pair of
He had his head facing downwards while he
casually jogged towards the ring. From left and
right, there were children and adults cheering him
[ 173 ]
The young men in front carved a line through the
crowd. Kajiwara walked straight past the side of
Bunshichi. Bunshichi could hear his labored
breathing in the darkness. Bunshichi’s heart
suddenly started beating in time with Kajiwara's
breathing. His muscles suddenly warmed up for
some reason. The lower part of his thick back
muscles began to shake.
Kajiwara stood silently in the corner of the ring as
the announcer introduced the fighters. Bunshichi
could only make out Kajiwara's back. Kajiwara
was hanging his head in shame, you could tell that
just from looking at him. But Bunshichi knew. He
knew that those snake-like eyes were glaring up at
his foreign opponent.
Bunshichi couldn’t make out the name of the foreign
opponent. Bunshichi had all his attention on
Kajiwara's back. Kajiwara's body and his face
were more or less the same as when Bunshichi
first fought him. He saw that back, like raw rubber.
But there was a certain air that hung around
Kajiwara. It was everything else around him that
had changed. Just like Bunshichi, Kajiwara was no
longer the man he once was. Bunshichi wondered
if Kajiwara remembered him. I’m here. That's what
he thought to Kajiwara. There was no mistaking
that Kajiwara had no idea what Bunshichi was
going to do once he had finished his match.
Bunshichi clenched his teeth.
A thick, wild smile formed on his lips. The teeth
that poked out his hanging lips made a grinding
sound. It was a few seconds after the gong rang to
indicate the start of the match. Kajiwara started
kicking. His right leg flew up of the canvas. His
sharp toes struck his opponent and then flew up
even higher in the air. It was an impressive kick,
even for a well trainer karate fighter. The crowd
went wild “KAJIWARA!”
Bunshichi let out voice that was almost a scream
Kajiwara had that snake-like like look in his eyes
as he looked down on his opponent, who now lay
crumpled on the mat.
PART IV: INTRUSION
[ 174 ]
PART V: EVIL BEAST
[ 175 ]
The three men entered the Hokushinkan director
room. These were the main directors: Matsuo
Shozan himself, followed by Himekawa Tsutomu
and, surprisingly, by Kawabe from Toyoo Pro-
Wrestling. The three of them sat down on the big
sofa as all of their attention was on a large
television screen bolted to the adjacent wall.
Switching on the television, they could view the
broadcast directly from the pro-wrestling arena in
Korakuen Hall. The match was just beginning, the
first minute and fifteen seconds: Kajiwara
submitted his opponent and made short work of
him; in this moment he was exiting the ring. The
announcer’s voice could barely be heard among
the screaming hordes of fans.
This pro-wrestling match was incredibly fast in
reaching its conclusion, as expected, the triumphal
return of one of the fiercest wrestlers, although it
wasn’t the norm for a main event to finish so
quickly. Kajiwara didn’t pull any punches on this
fight; he got right down to business. The single arm
lock, a popular locking technique among Judokas,
jujutsu practitioners and the mixed martial artist,
was put upon the opponent with such ferocity that
he had to give up the match or risk a miserable
Led by a young man, Kajiwara was walking towai
Suddenly, he stopped.
There was a man that stood in front of Kajiwara, f
“Who is this idiot?” Kajiwara thought to himself.
The man held out his right hand and uttered someti
[ 176 ]
The crowd was stirred into frenzy and rushed the
In a flash, the man struck Kajiwara's forehead, so
The dense humanity that blocked the exit had Kaji 1
Escalating to the border between passionate
reporting and screeching, the announcer began
repeating the same words from the crowd.
“Who was he!!?” “Why did he do it!!?” “Is Kajiwa
Besides that, he couldn’t say anything else.. .unable
to say anything else.
Kawabe, who was supposed to be a guest commei
The announcer, who was supposed to be informed
of the intruder's name at the moment he was
scripted to barge in, shouted in a different tone that
gave away the fact that it was an unscripted assault
by an unknown man. Eventually, the broadcast
showed the list of matches and names of wrestlers
that were going to be featured in next week's show.
“I guess you do it like this, correct?” Kawabe sai
Matsuo Shozan waited a few minutes for Kawabe
to return to his seat, after a brief pause he said with
a deep voice.
“So, that's Bunshichi Tanba.”
Kawabe and Himekawa nodded.
[ 177 ]
“He's the intruder...”
Shozan was looking at Himekawa and Kawabe wil
“Looks interesting, to think that he would go as far
“He's pretty skilled, also very tough” Himekawa re
After a few minutes while Kawabe was silent,
“Nothin’ serious.. .bleedin’ a lot, but....” Kawabe
“What kind of weapon was used in the assault?”
“Several bundles of forks wrapped in wires. The>
"Does Kajiwara know who the opponent was?"
"He does now."
“On the day of the filming, everyone kept their mo
“Yeah, that night, he yelled at me demanding why
“Hmmm...such a young guy” Shozan muttered with
“So, what's gonna happen now?”
"What Tanba Bunshichi did was brilliant, but
luckily, his face wasn’t exposed by the camera for
too long, so talk-about relieving that nobody
noticed a goddamned thing." Kawabe said with a
“The one that assaulted Kajiwara wasn’t Tanba, it v
"A wrestler of the same class as Kajiwara, and he’
“Hohohoho!!” Matsuo answered with some laughs,
[ 178 ]
“When he showed up about three years ago, he wa
“We picked up a guy, a guy that resembles Tanba ti
“ Hmm ....”
“The person who assaulted Kajiwara was Nagata.
“I was wonderin’ if, perhaps, some of the fans of t
“There's always that chance, but even if they were
“So, it was Nagata...yea?”
“So it’s safe to assume we’re stickin’ to it?”
“Yeah, we've been building the story line since ye
“What? What kind of story line’s that?”
“Nagata is a wrestler from the same class as Kaji\
“That’s very good...”
“"We've got it covered then, right?"”
“If that's true, then it'd be better if Tanba keeps it f
[ 179 ]
“He wouldn’t have a problem going to the media, 1
“Yeah, we’re thinking the same thing.”
“It would be beneficial if there were more guys c
“But then, Tanba would do something even more ex
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
After hearing that, Kawabe stared silently at his
right hand, which had the index finger wrapped in
a thick white bandage.
“I heard that Tanba was defeated once by a wrestl
Kawabe made a tight fist with his right hand,
leaving the injured finger out.
“He did this....” Kawabe continued “But I'm not an
Kawabe's face became sour, looking as though it
was turning to stone.
“Regardless of his talent and brazenness, I have a
“Pfiffttt.. .Hahahaha!... ”
“But, do we know the right guy for the job?”
“The right guy for the job?”
“Crazy Dog, he's a foreigner that dreams to fight ii
“I wonder if that would work, would it, do you thin
“It will, even if something crazy were to happen, I c
[ 180 ]
“When I said “I wonder if that would work” I was
“What if the foreigner loses to Tanba? Have you c
“I don’t really know, but even if he loses, it would
“Would it be?” Shozan stood up sluggishly and sta
“I was quite surprised when there was a call for n
“It was because Kajiwara showed up; some of my
“Just a few days ago in Shinjuku, some of my your
“That's understandable...” Himekawa answered v
"What about Shimura and Tsurumi?"
“They have totally lost their cool. It seems that th<
“The three defeated guys were from Shimura’s Dc
“"That’s right. They're from the Nerima branch, to
Himekawa's expression was somewhat indifferent.
He didn’t seem to be too concerned about the
incident as it had nothing to do with him.
“Anyways if you excuse me. I’ll be heading out no
[ 181 ]
“I understand that if you’re here today it must be
“Great Tatsumi is not the kind of person who woul
“Only if he was the director of the organization.”
“I see, I don’t think it'll be any good if they were tc
“Yes, that's true” Kawabe replied.
“ Pro-wrestling is the strongest martial art method
“.” Kawabe looked at the ground for a second
“Tatsumi said so because he couldn’t afford to ke(
“Ain’t that right, Himekawa? You know...” Shozan
Currently, The Hokushinkan Karate organization
was engaged in a subtle rivalry with Toyoo pro¬
wrestling. When the Great Tatsumi claimed in a
popular sports magazine that there was no
strongest martial art in the world than pro¬
wrestling, the fire started to spark among fighting
groups of Japan. This was based on the fact that
various MMA practitioners challenged Toyoo pro¬
wrestling and were soundly defeated on the mat.
This statement was doubted by Hokushinkan as
they had no proof of such matches and they were
curious about their actual fighting ability.
To keep their reputation as the number one Karate
organization in the world, The Hokushinkan could
not accept Tatsumi’s statement out of the blue.
Therefore they demanded to that sport magazine to
denounce and detract the comment made in the
“That made an editor very heart-broken...” Shozar
“ But when it comes to the heart of the issue, it is i
“ I understand, Mr. Matsuo, that you are speaking 1
[ 182 ]
In just seconds, Kawabe's eyes became hard like a
rock and the menacing glance was directed straight
at Matsuo. In return to that, Matsuo answered with
a think gentle smile.
“Heh, well, I'll take that answer. For now...”
“I appreciate it.” Kawabe answered in a dry tone
A few moments after Kawabe left the place,
Shozan crossed his arms for a while and stared
into an empty space.
“Say, Himekawa” speaking with a deep voice.
“What is it?”
“The world of Karate in Japan might have just sta
Releasing his arms, he clenched his fists and starec
“ But to think he had the balls to invade the arena ;
“So it seems....” Himekawa said, while Shozan w;
“Damn, this never ends, how troublesome.”
“Troublesome? For you?”
“Yes, Himekawa, I’m troubled.”
“Hah!! why is that?”
“Cause this things make me excited.”
“Excited you say?”
“Well, what would happen if I were to make a cor
Looking at Matsuo Shozan, Himekawa saw him as
excited as a little kid that's about to receive an
awesome Christmas present.
“It would be so much fun if I were to wear a mask
“Hey, don’t get too many ideas about it, I still have
Shozan relaxed his hands and once again placed it
on the desk.
“By the way, I got a call from Izumi yesterday.”
[ 183 ]
“Wait, you mean Izumi San, fromNara!!?” Himekz
“Yes, it seems his daughter will arrive to Tokyo to
“You mean Saeko San?”
“Yes, Technically, she was supposed to come and
“You know why is she coming here better than an>
“What the hell's going on!!?” “Why do they say it w
Ryoji threw the sport newspaper across the room.'
Behind that dirty glass you could see the soft
orange tone of the town's sunset. Since they were
located in the second floor of the Inn. A nearby
alley was so narrow, it seemed that the window
was directly facing the wooden apartment building
on the other side. The cheap cream colored
painting was chipping off, giving the apartment a
marginal look and sloppy appearance. It was most
likely that the roof was going to leak if it rain, but
they weren’t concerned about it.
But the room that Bunshichi stayed in was not much
different either. Originally, the front wall was
white, but now, it turned somewhat brownish or
even yellowish. A dark stain that looked like the
pattern of a map was increasing in size too. Most
likely it was caused by the rain that leaked through
the ceiling. The pain was also peeling here and
there, including a few prank doodles from some
street kids. You could say you were looking at a
surrealist piece of art.
[ 184 ]
“It doesn’t seem you are the least concerned. Aren't
Trying to sound arrogant, Ryoji stood up from the
other side of the table staring at Tanba. His lips
sharpened and his face frowned. His teenager angst
was appropriate of a young guy of his age.
But Bunshichi had a calm demeanor and his eyes
were quietly lost somewhere in the light outside.
Since Ryoji didn’t get the reaction that he wanted
from Tanba, He sulked and sat cross-legged.
“Damn it!!” he muttered to himself.
At his feet was that popular sports newspaper with
a headline written in big red letters.
“NAGATA CHALLENGES KAJI WAR A" While a line
There was an image of Hiroshi Nagata's full body,
whose posture was almost copied from the posture
that Bunshichi had. There was a close-up picture
of him too, A face that also resembled much of
If we were to compare Bunshichi and Nagata,
Nagata would be somewhat younger but no more
than three years or so.
“I don't see what part of him resembles you, this is
“Tell me the truth. He's more handsome than me, h
“Tsk!! I don't know.” Ryoji placed his elbows on t
“What a pity...” Bunshichi replied and looked onc<
“The fact that I like to mess around and cause trou
“I went as far as crashing the show, standing face 1
“Well, it's not going to be that easy this time aroun
“I don’t care about them”
“So, what are you gonna do now, Old man?”
“ I’ll be happy as long as I get to fight Kajiwara. It
[ 185 ]
“ Should I go and see him directly?” Murmured Bi
“ Kajiwara, of course. In fact, that's what I should'
“ So you're going to show up in front of him now, i
Bunshichi stood up sluggishly. He didn’t look the s;
His bare muscular upper body was shown and the
width of his neck stood out on his thick rock solid
“I'm going to Yokohama.” Bunshichi said while ta
“He’ll be in Yokohama...”
“That’s the place where Toyoo pro-wrestling will
On Bunshichi’s back and belly, there was a big
knife wound. The wound on his belly seemed to
come from a knife that had been stabbed in deeply,
Leaving a deep scar. There were also countless
small injuries .
The wound on his back started from his right
shoulder and ran all the way to his left side, much
like a diagonal line.
By looking at it, you'd think that someone slashed h
Reaching with his hand, he grabbed a bag in the
corner of the room and opened the zipper. Taking
the black trainer pants from inside, there were a
few extra clothes. Depending on the angle that
you'd look, the back of the clothes looked
somewhat gray instead of its natural shiny black.
This was because they were stained in different
colors. Something like blood. Bunshichi started to
put his trainers and his tank top shirt, these were
the same clothes he used in the fight against
[ 186 ]
“Are you really gonna fight him tonight?” murmurc
“Tonight is a big event, the guy might not even be i
Taking out the sneakers from the bag, he put them
on the tatami. The collar of the trainers that was
recently washed was now tightened against his
neck. Originally the collar was wide enough for
people to wear it on, but Bunshichi's neck was too
wide. He put both of his thick index fingers on the
collar to spread it out. He was able to make it
“I'm going for a quick jog, I’ll be back in about thii
“You too, get ready to leave after I come back. We
He didn’t close the sliding door. He just walked
out to the corridor. In the way he smelled
something from the toilet. A strong smell of
disinfectant invaded his nose. A few steps more
and he found the staircase. Because of his huge
body, he made a creaking sound on the stairs while
he was walking down.
Hearing the sound from a distance, Ryoji suddenly
got a weird gut feeling and ran outside
“Hey, old man!!”
But the only sound he got in response was the glass
door entrance being closed.
Thirty minutes passed, but Tanba did not come
back. Forty five minutes passed, fifty minutes
passed but Bunshichi still had not come back. The
room was now in complete darkness, because the
darkness of the night took place as a silent guest.
[ 187 ]
“That damn idiot!!” Ryoji stood up in the darkness
“That guy, he left by himself!!”
“Wow, what a gorgeous room you have, you must
love living here...”
Said the gorgeous woman who was sitting down on
a leather sofa. She had black straight hair that ran
down to her shoulder. Her thick lips were covered
in red lipstick and remained half opened after the
last sentence she just said. After checking her
surroundings, she sealed her lips again. After she
sealed them, she was facing her front. At her sight
was Himekawa Tsutomu, sitting in front of her with
a sweet smile on his lips.
His skin was soft and white and he also had red
lips. His features were so delicate that in a quick
glance you might have mistaken him for a woman.
His hair also was as long and shiny as the woman
in front of him. Giving him a close look, you might
say he was pretty thin, but this was because he was
tall. His arms were bigger than ordinary men and
his chest was pretty thick. However, his body was
usually covered tightly with black suits, so it was
His toughness was chained under his elegant
clothes but with his posture, it looked like he could
suddenly jump and easily reach the ceiling.
Nobody knew this, but inside his body there is an
unusual spring power that was sleeping and he was
waiting for the worthy day to wake it and make it
explode. But in the meantime, keeping a calm
demeanor and smiling all the time, he looked like a
Saeko Izumi was the name of this beautiful
Japanese woman that you could fall in love at first
glance. The daughter of Izumi Souichiro. Aline
lady with exquisite mannerisms. However,
Himekawa knew that in bed, Saeko could quickly
transform into a beast. She was a woman that was
well versed in all kinds of sexual positions that
could make you lose your mind.
[ 188 ]
That fact had been co nf irmed a million times by
Himekawa's own body. She was the type that
Himekawa liked the most.
“Well, I can’t agree with you saying this is a
“gorgeous room If you said it was an expensive
room. I’d be a different story. But I picked just a
few items that strike my fancy and decorated it
“Even so, it's still quite beautiful.”
She noticed that the carpet was imported but she
didn’t know what country it has been made but,
judging from the furniture in the room, she knew
this room was not the kind of place that a mere
martial arts student, who lived by himself, would
be able to afford. She moved her eyes up to the
corner of the room first, then, her eyes returned to
The smell of the room wasn't the one that you get
when someone lives there. It was not dirty, and it
looked like there had never been someone staining,
cooking or making love there. So clean that you
could almost lick the marble table.
But Saeko wasn't in the mood to discuss the
apartment’s design for much longer.
“That was the first time I heard that Izumi Sensei
had encountered Tanba.” Himekawa said.
“Yeah, dad looks old all of a sudden, just because
he lost that fight.”
“But Izumi Sensei is not the only person that
wanted to fight Tanba, the director too.”
“Really? He must be a very skilled man, then.”
“I know him, I saw his face and the way he
“You do, Himekawa? I’m also tempted to meet
him, the man called Bunshichi Tanba.”
“Strangely, there are people capable to charm
others in seconds, even the director was excited as
a little kid, he has never met Tanba, yet, he has
been in high spirits lately .
“In high spirits you say?”
“Like I say, he's like this big kid waiting for an
exciting gift, he even started a secret training
program for the actual fight.”
“Really? He's going to challenge him?”
“ I can’t tell you exactly about the director's true
feelings. But rather than Tanba himself, I think he is
seeing something larger than life in front of him”
[ 189 ]
Himekawa said these words without a hint of
emotion or expression.
“Larger than life?” Saeko asked.
Himekawa made a big smile that show all his
teeth. “That can be just a lucky guess of mine.”
“I just wonder about that really, I haven’t been
able to comprehend that man fully.”
“What about my father?”
“I know Izumi San, he was a great martial artist.”
“Until he was defeated by Bunshichi Tanba.”
“Quite ruthless, aren't you?”
“I mean no disrespect but that’s the truth. I didn’t
mean to look down on Izumi San or anything. But a
martial artist that calls himself “a master ” should
not lose, ever.”
“What about the director, Matsuo Shozan.”
“The director is a great man, because he has
never been defeated.”
“Not even once?"
“Not even once." Himekawa said this clearly.
“Izumi Sensei shouldn’t have fought Tanba,
because he didn’t know anything about politics.”
“It's just an example. Meanwhile, Matsuo Shozan
got what it takes to win the challenge.”
“What do you mean?”
“Even though Izumi Sensei had the desire to fight
a strong man, he did not embrace that desire to the
point of wanting to unify the martial arts world.”
Saeko was staring at Himekawa, who smiled
“Have you lost?”
[ 190 ]
“Ever since you were little?”
“That's right.” Said Himekawa while smiling.
“Although, there were times when I didn’t enjoy
fighting because my arm was broken off...”
“Your arm...broke off..?”
“Even so, I did not lose.”
“I’m not as stupid as to fight stronger or better
opponents than me, I rather walk away from that. I
only fight the ones that I'm certain I can win
“But there must be times when you didn’t have the
option of running away from the fight, what would
you do then?”
“In that case, I wouldn’t resist. If I didn’t fight, I
wouldn’t lose anyway. Even if they broke my arm
in the process.”
Himekawa said this with an air of coolness whike
Saeko's big eyes gave him a slight surprised
“Let me get this straight, You didn’t do anything
and just endured while your arm was broken?”
“When I become stronger than the opponent who
broke my arm, then I'll avenge the injury that I
sustained because of him by winning the fight. If
you train with that goal in mind, not only you'll be
able to train with all your passion and might, but
also look for the next stronger opponent that you
can stand a chance in the new level.”
Saeko didn’t say anything. All of a sudden she
thought she saw a demon inside the smiles of
“Who do you think broke my arm?” Himekawa
asked. Saeko shook her head with a puzzled face.
Himekawa embraced her, got his mouth closer to
her ear and whispered softly....
“It was Matsuo Shozan...”
After that, he let her go and took a step back while
smiling, Himekawa's smiles were giving Saeko
She saw that demon, it's power and destruction.
Looking at his eyes. There was a world without
[ 191 ]
“It seems that Shimura San and Tsurumi San are
targeting you too, right?”
“Those two? PffL.Hahaha, They're useless.”
“They said they wanted to fight Bunshichi Tanba
no matter what.”
“Is that because three of Shimura's disciples got
beaten up, right? You probably heard about that.”
“finjust here to tell you about my father's state
and will, whatever they do is up to them.”
“Aren’t you a little bit insensitive about your
“My Father and I are way different. He sacrificed
all his time and effort to martial arts without regard
for his family.
It seems that my mother died because of that. But
that doesn't mean I hold a grudge or hate my father,
after all, he's the one that taught me to live the way
I enjoy to live.
“Is that so?”
“For that very reason too, I don't think my father
would ask me to return to live with him if I
decided to remain in Tokyo.”
For all the moment they were talking, Saeko finally
faced Himekawa and smiled to him for the first
Himekawa stood up completely naked, in front of
him was Saeko, kneeling down naked, as expected.
With the soft lights turned on, one could see two
beautiful naked bodies throwing themselves into
His body was hard and tough. He didn’t have too
many big muscles but they were lean and tight. If
you were to touch his body, under that smooth skin
you'd verily that his muscles were very flexible.
Saeko was charmed by this and closed her eyes,
then, slowly she started to kiss the many parts of
his groin area. Both her hands were approaching
towards the hard area by exploring the sides.
While her lips were clinging on his manhood, she
put down her fingers and tried to swallow him
more. His tip was supposed to thrust all the way to
[ 192 ]
She slowly pulled back her lips, making that wet
shaft come into sight. She started kissing his
member from his sensitive part up to the edge, she
even bit it softly. Pursing it into her cheek and
twisting her face. Her tongue moved from the
bottom up to the top without leaving a single area
untouched. Himekawa's hands were buried deep
into Saeko’s hair.
He started moving her head back and forth into his
groin. It was unclear if Himekawa was keeping the
rhythm or if she was moving her body on her own.
Saeko's buttocks could be seen shaking a little as
she was moving her head. Removing her mouth,
she opened her eyes and look up to Himekawa.
“Do it.” Saeko said with a sensual voice.
She pressed the floor with her two hands and lifted
her butt. Himekawa turned to her back and started
caressing her chest from behind. There was a dirty
scene for a moment and something seem to burst
from inside her flower. She was finally wet enough
for him to enter inside of her.
“Do it...” she started sounding more desperate thai
“Do it....” she said it again.
“Do it to me, here” her fingers opened her flower
“Come inside of me...”
[ 193 ]
Himekawa finally gave in and started kneeling. Jui
Saeko grabbed Himekawa's hard manhood with
her hand that was so wet from being inside of her
and pressed it to her own.
“Do it to me....as hard as you can!!”
At the moment that Himekawa started thrusting,
Saeko finally turned into a white roaring beast.
Crawling hungry on top of the carpet. Her breasts
were held by Himekawa's hands. Saeko Crawled
herself from the carpet to the sofa and lifted up her
upper body. Moving her arms, twisting her body
and exposing her breasts. Her moans of pleasure
were louder and louder.
Shortly after, she surrounded her arms into
Himekawa's collar. She twisted her head, sticked
out her tongue and joined her lips together. Her
long, red tongue seemed to dance around, trying to
lick something in the air.
Thirty minutes had passed since they got naked
when a phone call interrupted the passionate scene.
Himekawa slowly disentangled himself from
Saeko who circled her arms on him underneath.
Saeko let a tiny moan of disappointment go and
lifted her upper body. But then she started crawling
trying to chase Himekawa's shaft into her mouth.
She was able to capture it just before he lifted the
phone and answered the call.
“Hi, sir...We found Bunshichi Tanba!!” said the mr
“What!? Where is he!!? is he in Yokohama!!?”
“That's right, sir...”
“I knew it....As long as Kajiwara is participating
[ 194 ]
“Tell me his location.”
“He's in front of the Toukai Kankou hotel. Tanba is
“He's wearing black trainers, you say?”
Himekawa had the image of the day when
Bunshichi met Izumi Souichiro in Nara fresh and
burned into his memory.
He was also wearing black trainers in that day too
“Is he planning to fight Kajiwara seriously!!?
Himekawa's lips, that were inundated with the
pleasant feeling of Saeko’s lips, got tense
“What does he have against Kajiwara!!?”
“His TV match is over , so he's staying at the hotel
“After that Shimura San and Tsurumi San went to t
“I’ll be there soon.” Himekawa said with a hasty \
Both of his hands hugged Saeko who was still
chewing. He secured Saeko's head and she moved
During their intimate moment, the only person who
appeared in Himekawa's mind was Bunshichi
Wearing some comfortable trainers that had the “7o
He left the hotel around 10:30. A normal athlete
would take the night off and rest all day the next
day. It was not recommendable for them to train
right after the match was over, let alone going out
at night for some jogging like Kajiwara. But it was
a habit for him. Kajiwara was always training
even in his spare time. Even after or before
matches, that issue didn’t concern him much and
never had an effect on him.
Kajiwara never suffered from over exerting
himself. He was tough enough to bear the soft pain
of an injury every now and then, he forgot about his
resistance and he just continued his routine as one
would watch TV or sit in the sofa to read a book.
Before jogging, he did some bending and stretching
in front of the hotel and took off
His pace was fast and constant. To avoid running
into pedestrians, he was alternating between the
street and the sidewalk.
A little after running beyond the downtown lights,
he passed a big shadow of a man that started
following his pace of running, lining up next to
him. Yes, it was that man, Bunshichi Tanba.
He was silent and both men ran side by side. A
passerby that came in front of them moved out of
the way. The city lights were even more distant,
lighting their backs as they ran. Although Kajiwara
was a tall man, with a simple look, their body
weight was about the same.
“So, you finally came, huh?”
“That’s correct” Bunshichi answered.
They were silent for a while, while still running
side by side at the same pace. When they suddenly
arrived to a busy street with a red light, both of
them stopped there. The light turned to green and
both men crossed.
After crossing the signal,they stood up in the
sidewalk. Beyond the light, there was an asphalt
road that both of them followed. Gradually the
scene got darker and darker until, eventually, the
whole street was just illuminated by the moon.
They did not run anymore.
[ 196 ]
Shoulder to shoulder, they started walking calmly
“How's your wound?” Bunshichi asked
“ It healed alright, it wasn't a big deal at all.”
“I see...” Bunshichi answered, then kept his
silence for a little while.
There was an air of opportunity that was blending
with the wind, “a sudden attack? Is he waiting for
“Damn, it was close...” Bunshichi answered with
“Close? What are you talking about?”
“The belt. The champion belt you got in America.
That return match was for the purpose of going
back and taking it once again, isn’t it?”
“That’s not true, actually I just gave it away.”
“If you get a national champion title over there,
you cannot afford to come back to Japan, unless
you pay a high price for a few months off,
otherwise, they will keep booking you for title
defenses over and over, there's great demand for
“Man, it is so confusing, the business deal of
“That is true...unlike us....”
Kajiwara suddenly appeared as the one that seized
that chance, when his words were stolen by the
Everything got quiet....
“You surprised me over there.” This time, it was
Kajiwara the one that started the conversation.
“Right at the moment when you appeared in front
of me in the Korakuen hall.”
“Because it was so sudden and unexpected, was
“ At first, I didn’t notice it was you, but then, you
raised your hand and everything came back to
“Yeah, that's when I tried to...”
“Nobody told me you went to the old Kawabe's
“What if you knew?”
“Then I would have been waiting for you, ready
to fight you once again, in your favorite place.”
“That means, you're pissed off about it, eh?”
[ 197 ]
“You're correct.” Kajiwara answered, somewhat
bored and absentminded.
“Why is that?”
“ I don’t understand, why didn’t you come to me
first!? Why did you have to take a detour and make
things more complicated? It’d have been better for
me if you have come and ambushed me here in the
middle of the night, without the drama that has
“I should have done that...uh?”
“Man, do you like the drama and the crowds
screaming that much?”
“Hahahah...Maybe...” Bunshichi laughed a little.
“To be honest, I was a little freaked out by you,
“Scared of me? Really?”
“That evening, when we met at the Korakuen
hall, all I could think was what would I have done
if I were to attack you, I kept wondering about...”
“Dunno, about what kind of fight were you
offering, would you counter attack if I attacked
you? If I took advantage before you could recover?
If to accept your challenge and listen to your
conditions? Do we fight with rules or with all our
might and tricks? In the ring or out of it? Those
kind of things...”
“Ah, I see...”
“One can never be too sure about you, you might
have pricked my eyes all of a sudden. Or kicking
me in the balls. If you were to fight down and dirty,
I would have done the same too, screw rules.”
“I'm very relieved.” Bunshichi answered calmly.
“To hear that you were scared of me.”
“Hahah, ain’t that funny?”
“I was scared of you too. Even now.”
“Hahah, hrnrnm... Sure...” Kajiwara relaxed a
little and let a smile sneak through his lips.
The smell of opportunity has gotten stronger and
“You'd be surprised, there are a lot of killer tricks
in pro-wrestling, as in everything. But they're
deemed too dangerous and it is discouraged to use
them on the ring.”
“Don’t ask that, you know they're secret.”
“Ohh, I see where this is going.”
“The moment you discover them, it will be when
we have an all-out fight.”
“All-out? You want a fight like that? Or maybe...”
Bunshichi asked with a suspicious tone.
This tone was to sense at what level Kajiwara
wanted to take the fight. Kajiwara understood what
Tanba was implying and tried to make sure about
his real intentions.
“We can make it exciting but I don't want us
necessarily to kill each other.” Said Kajiwara.
“Same here...” answered Bunshichi, then quietly
added “Even though, the result will be that one of
us will end up dead.” Kajiwara nodded in silence
while they were quietly walking away.
This stroll continued in silence for a long time. The
darkness directed Kajiwara's body heat to
Bunshichi, who was walking next to him He even
could hear the sound of Kajiwara's breathing
The feeling wasn’t there, the one when you tell
yourself “I’ll kick this guy's ass now!!” They
enjoyed the conversation along the way, and it
seemed that they were walking and looking for an
affordable bar to continue the chat.
He could hear his sound in the dark, while looking
at the bright ocean that was illuminated by the
moon and stars above. Walking forward a little,
Tanba distinguished dots of lights. It was
Yamashita park, since both of them entered it,
Tanba decided to ask something.
“Could you tell me one thing?”
“What is it?
“When we fought last time, why didn’t you break
[ 199 ]
“When we fought for the first time, you had more
than enough chances to break my arm”
“That time, eh?”
“Yes...” Bunshichi said with determination in his
eyes, Kajiwara didn’t say anything. He seemed to
be trying to remember something then he sighed
“A little while ago, I did it...”
“You did it?”
“Yeah, in the opening performance show,
Probably you've hear the name of the guy. Hiroshi
“You broke Nagata's arm? ”
“The guy didn’t give up. He’d lost his cool. I just
pulled a little more and it was broken.”
“ It was a disgusting sound, I could hear it all
from my hand to my guts.”
“Hah, Hah...” Bunshichi smiled a little. Kajiwara
turned to Bunshichi, then He moved back to face
the darkness ahead of him.
“I will shatter it now.” Kajiwara stopped for the
first time since they started walking.
Bunshichi, who was walking a little ahead of him,
stopped and turned around looking at his face.
Now they were finally facing each other.
“Do you want to fight here?” Bunshichi asked
bluntly. But Kajiwara shook his head.
“ Didn’t you hear what I said? I told you it was
complicated. This is not just my problem anymore.
More people got involved now and Toyoo pro¬
wrestling lied to the press and the media. The
number of people involved with this issue has
“I see, so the big guy that has been following us
for a while, he’s also...?
“Hah, hah, This is so predictable, the dude is so
huge, he's unsuitable to tail anyone without being
“Kawabe said that if you beat him without being
broken in the end, then we can fight.”
[ 200 ]
“Hahahah... One detail that escaped Kawabe's
mind, though. What if I decided to kick you ass
right now? What would you do, then?”
“I don't care either way, but I’m not the one that
will attack you first, he is. You attack me and you'll
have to fight both of us at the same time. A poor
idea considering the fact that he has fought in New
York and honed his skills there for some time. If
you decide to go ahead, then, this will hardly be a
match of skills.”
“Damn that Kawabe, I guess I owe him this match
for bending his finger.”
“I’m going to train a little and I'll be back in about
an hour or so. If you're still in the mood for fighting
me, then just come. But you still need to defeat that
“You have plenty of energy left for what I can
“If I don’t exhaust myself at the end of the day,
then I can't sleep well. That's how I do it.”
Kajiwara said this while giving a deep look at
Bunshichi. Once he said this, he turned around
slowly and walked a few steps before starting
jogging again. It would seem that his figure was
swallowed by the darkness and disappeared soon
Bunshichi turned slowly and there it was, a giant
shadow waiting for him.
It was a tall, blond man with long hair, he must
have been about 6.5” Ft. tall. A giant with blue
eyes that stared silently at Bunshichi while getting
closer to him, you could only heard his steps and
the wind around the trees. He was like a mad dog
when he fought, that earned him the nickname of
“Crazy Dog” in the fighting circles. His shiny eyes
were glowing in the darkness while staring at
Bunshichi, when he got close enough. He stopped,
smiled a little and then laughed loudly.
He reeked of alcohol and cheap cigarettes, that
smell reached Bunshichi quick enough. With a
quick glance, Bunshichi assessed the man that he
was about to fight. By his looks, he was 6’5” Ft.
and about 240 lbs estimated on his build.
Compared to Bunshichi, he had an advantage of 66
lbs. of pure muscle for what it looked like. The
man was wearing a comfy business suit and his
chest was wide open. You could see a bush of
golden hair over the hard muscles.
Bunshichi got ready for the fight, bending his knee
slowly and lowering his stance, he already
decided his moves for the opening and counter¬
attacks. But the scene got interrupted by a loud
scream in the darkness.
“WAIT!!” A deep and solid voice was heard.
Two men appeared behind Crazy Dog. These guys
were a tad shorter than Bunshichi but their height
was still close to the 6”0. Ft. It was obvious that,
in regard to fighting, these weren’t ordinary men.
[ 201 ]
When they advanced, their steps didn’t make
sounds. Being men with excellent footwork,
probably martial artists with thirst for blood at
whatever price it might come. Both of them moved
slowly and stood right in the middle. Back-to-
back, One faced Crazy Dog, the other glared at
Bunshichi. Both of them had exceptionally sharp
“I'm Shimura, from Hokushinkan.” Said the man
that stood in front of Bunshichi.
“I want to have a fight with you, Tanba
“What!? With me?”
“The man behind me is Tsurumi, we both have
been informed that you were the guy that took
down our students in Shinjuku. Izumi-sensei was
the one that told us. That’s reason enough to
challenge you without delay!!”
“Well, I’m in the middle of something right now. If
you don’t mind. I’ll fight you another day. Gotta
finish this first.”
“ I won’t accept that!!”
“Come on!! I’m not gonna run away.”
“We’re gonna fight, right here, right now!!” The
man was determined in his answer.
Crazy Dog was confused and had a perplexed look
that quickly turned into anger.
“Get the fuck outta my way!!” he roared.
The guy fought so many hard battles in the past.
And, by his own might and talent, he had gotten
himself a main event at the Madison Square
Garden arena in New York. His pride never let
anyone get in his way and this wasn’t going to be
the exception either. The giant walked around
Tsurumi without touching him. Being so close to a
taller man, Tsurumi wasn't scared and he figured
that, if the giant tried something funny, he would
deliver a solid kick in the groin area and the giant
would be done for.
All of a sudden, Crazy Dog held Tsurumi’s
shoulders with pressing power. That’s when it
[ 202 ]
Tsurumi kicked his right leg to the ground to launch
his attack. The force and speed of his attack was
amazing, His kick was directed at Crazy Dog's
groin area. The contact made a cracking sound.
The movement of Tsurumi's leg stopped midway
because Crazy Dog checked the kick with his giant
knees that were surprisingly fast. Crazy Dog
laughed out loud before delivering a devastating
head-butt to Tsurumi that was barely blocked and
answered with a solid punch.
That was the start of the fight.
The wind that came from the ocean was so cold
that it created a chilling atmosphere. A taxi
stopped right at Yamashita park and a man walked
out from it. It was Himekawa Tsutomu. As soon as
he walked and entered the park, he sat down on the
bench close to a big tree's shadow. Looking
around, he only noticed a couple walking away.
Those were the only human figures he could
distinguish. Moving further, he kept walking and
started looking at the ocean that was at his right
He could sense that someone was there, even
though the hunch wasn't strong enough. Instead of a
person, he was sensing something more alike to a
sharp object and someone's unusual breath. It was
tearing up the atmosphere. It was not the wind, it
was something else.
His eyes were moving into that direction until he
noticed a human shadow moving, doing familiar
Karate moves with hands and feet that he
recognized doing with his own body hundreds of
“Is he practicing Hokushinkan style Karate!?”
Himekawa approached this figure and the
movement stopped at once.
“Oh!!, Mr. Kajiwara, It's you!!” Himekawa said.
As the shadowy figure stopped moving, He turned
to face Himekawa.
“Wow, you surprised me...” Making a strange
expression, Kajiwara did not look or sound
surprised even though that is what he said so.
“You sure don't sound like a cat or another animal
that might be wandering at this hour.”
“ You're Mr. Kajiwara, am I right?” Himekawa
said by getting close to him.
“ I'm Himekawa Tsutomu from Hokushinkan's
“ I'm a person that has worked very closely with
Matsuo Shozan Sensei. He has taken good care for
“Oh, I see. So, what are you doing here?”
“ I was waiting for someone, an old friend of
“A friend of yours?”
“Yeah, sort of...”
“Might this person be Tanba Bunshichi?”
Himekawa asked while Kajiwara made a strange
“How do you know him?”
“I've been looking for him, do you know where he
“He's supposed to come here soon, I guess.” The
moment Kajiwara answered, they heard a thin
scream within the darkness.
“Over there!!” Himekawa said, moving his head
towards the place where the scream came. Both
men ran towards it.
All of a sudden, Bunshichi’s head had been hit by
Shimura's kick with the right leg. A kick launched
at flash speed that Bunshichi had to bent his elbow
on the side of his head to block it.
[ 204 ]
While the kick landed, He steeped into his
opponent's area with his right foot and kicked
Shimura’s leg with his left foot. That was the
moment when Shimura launched a left fist that
came flying at Bunshichi's face.
This was not an usual Karate blow, It was a weird
attack. Bunshichi waited for contact and twisted
his head to cross it. He was aiming for the leg but
Bunshichi’s kick was quite shallow. If he seriously
wanted to cause more damage and having enough
space, instead of launching a kick, Bunshichi
would have punched him in the face.
Usually, if the opponent was at his same level of
fighting skills, he would have not resort to launch a
high kick all of a sudden. For that Bunshichi would
have used his other foot and launched a few solid
punches at the low and mid sections before
launching a solid high kick that would not miss its
Suddenly, everything fell into place for Bunshichi.
“He's a guy that likes to brawl creatively.”
Bunshichi thought while using some light
In simple terms, his opponent mastered Karate just
to use it as the base while mixing it with a few
tricks here and there that will give him the
advantage in a fight. A person just like himself
used to deal with street combat often.
If that was the case, Bunshichi had the perfect
answer for it.
“Hah, so you and me are the same, then?” he
Then, he stopped all of a sudden, and he lowered
down his arms in a relaxed stance. He just stood
there in an upright position without an expression.
His opponent closed the distance but he was using
a defenseless posture, in a fight, this was almost
unthinkable. For a moment, he doubted if Shimura
had an attack planned for that. He started doubting
what was coming up next.
“Will he use a kick? A punch maybe?” Bunshichi
started getting distracted.
It only took him 0.1 seconds to find out the answer
as a right fist flew over towards Bunshichi’s face.
Even if it was only a second, hesitation can decide
the outcome between victory and defeat. In this
case, Bunshichi improvised a left fist but before he
could launch it, it was caught with a right knee and
pulled his left arm back.
While retreating, he saw that giant fist covering all
his field of vision coming at him. Too late to do
anything, his reflexes moved his right hand and
caught that punch between his face and his open
Absorbing the strong impact like a cushion, Tanba
felt the power of that attack but his right hand was
holding Shimura’s fist and he tried to sneak behind
Shimura's back when he realized something.
“Gwaaaargh!!” He screamed while his fist was
inside Bunshichi’s right arm. Shimura's wrist had
At the same time, Shimura's right knee had been
sunk into Bunshichi's butt. A powerful attack that
was way too close and it would have given
Shimura more openings while Bunshichi was
recovering from the pain of the impact, he felt it
But this was not to be, as Shimura reached his limit
of pain tolerance and collapsed in the floor
screaming loudly like a flute. This was the scream
that Himekawa heard.
Crazy dog's face was bleeding profusely, it was
noticeable that blood were pouring from his mouth
and nose. Even though, initially he was reeking of
alcohol and tobacco, now his mouth was filled
with blood and he was reeking of iron. Even half
of his shirt changed color to a more darker stain.
In contrast, Tsurumi's face had become pale. His
countless punches and kicks failed to reach the
desired effect. He was sweating buckets but all
that effort amount to little compared with the final
That's because the weight difference was simply
too big. Almost 90 lbs of difference between him
and the giant man.
Even though the giant wasn't a Karateka, he was
still a pro-wrestler, used to take kicks and punches
to the face while minimizing the damage for long
periods of time. But the body weight wasn’t the
only reason of his failure.
There’s also the reach difference. Once you’re
grabbed, You’d be scared that your enemy will step
into your balance area. If you could avoid it, You'd
be able to reduce the damage that the opponent
would inflict to you.
The mad dog was grinning and laughing loudly
every time he will take a punch or a kick, even
now with his bloody face, it was amusing to him.
There was no mistake that he was thinking in that
pleasant moment when he would have caught
Tsurumi and finish him with whatever he pleased.
[ 206 ]
In the other hand, Tsurumi, who was battered,
injured and had ran out of options, was paralyzed
by fear. But that didn’t diminished his courage one
bit. He still had the guts to not run away.
“Hey, brother. I get that you’re tough but he's still
coining for me, wanna switch?” Bunshichi said in a
relaxed and friendly tone to Tsurumi, that didn’t
answer and kept a determined look. But in reality,
he did not have the composure to answer.
You just have to see that poor guy Shimura rolling
in pain on the ground, his screams were loud
enough to Tsurumi to hear, but he dared not look
Bunshichi thought to himself that this was the very
fear he experienced from Kajiwara in that fight six
years ago, Tsurumi was in the same position and
must be feeling the same.
“Doryyaaahhhh!!!” Tsurumi screamed before he
jumped into Crazy Dog's chest.
Charging back his arm, he made a fist but then, he
left the index and middle fingers out and positioned
them in form of a Y with those, he was aiming to
stab Crazy Dog’s nostrils, but as soon as they got
closer. He decided to aim higher than that.
He was going to attack him right in his eyes.
Crazy Dog shook his head with a bloody smile. He
stood in the same place and, even knowing that his
opponent was aiming to take his eyes out, he didn’t
panic at all. It only took a small sway back with
his head and the attack was useless.
While in mid air, Crazy Dog seized Tsurumi's
shoulders and his fingers stopped right in front of
Crazy Dog's face, showing the vast difference in
reach of both men. Crazy Dog let a maniacal laugh
while Tsurumi was paralyzed by fear.
“Aiehhh!!!” screamed Tsurumi.
Not only he failed to land that attack, it was the
only attack that he could launch on him. For a
desperate man without options, this was the best he
could hope for. Without making a mistake, Tsurumi
thought that he would be able to pull it off if he
was desperate enough.
Tsurumi tried to pry himself open but Crazy Dog
had him well secured with his arms like a bear
hug. Tsurumi tried to scream loudly but his scream
“AieeeGUHHHHHHH!!!” Crazy Dog pressed him
until all his oxygen escaped from his lungs.
“Baaaaahhhh” Tsurumi grasped for air, but when
he tried to scream again, Crazy Dog pressed him
This time, the mad dog kept pressing him without
letting him breathe. His shoulders bulged like a
bump while Tsurumi’s ribs were making cracking
sounds as his mouth was while open and he was
convulsing shaking his head back and forth.
His face started to turn blue while he flapped his
mouth, desperately trying to grasp some air from
his surroundings but it seems he wasn’t able to.
Crazy Dog unfastened his right arm and Tsurumi
desperately let his lungs have some air but he was
still seized by the giant's left arm, gasping
violently. This time It was Crazy Dog the one that
charged back his arm and made a fist, but it was
different from Tsurumi. He only let one finger out,
the index finger, that considering the thickness of
his hand, it seemed that it was a giant pole.
“... .What is he planning to do with that?”
Bunshichi was a little puzzled.
But when he saw how much he charged back that
spooky finger, he felt his spine as cold as ice. In
Bunshichi’s mind, there was conflicting feelings.
For one, he wanted to see what would be the result
of that attack, but in the other hand, He wanted to
stop him from executing a man that was already
“Stop!!” Bunshichi Yelled a few moments later,
but it was already too late.
Tsurumi let out a big scream...no. It was more like
a howl that would pierce the ears of anyone that
would listen to it.
A noise so hideous that it seems it was done by a
dying beast, but enough for you to discern that it
was a voice emitted by a human in an extreme
moment. If it was you making this sound, you'd
wish it was the last time in your life that you
emitted a sound like that.
[ 208 ]
It wasn’t going to happen for a second time, ever....
Even if he was still alive, Tsurumi probably would
not have the chance to make that scream again, but
he will have to settle down with the kind of life he
will get after recovering from the consequences of
This sound was the ultimate, desperate attempt to
tolerate a horrible injury that will affect not only
his martial artist career for the rest of his life, but
his regular life for as long as he’d live, which he
could just suppose, it wasn’t going to be long
What Crazy Dog did, while he was holding
Tsurumi, used his gigantic hand to grasp and press
the back of Tsurumi's head.
Moreover, he launched and stuck his thick right
index finger into Tsurumi’s right nostril with all his
strength, breaking muscle, bone and cartilage all
the way to the edge. There was no mistake, That
blow penetrated so deeply that it reached even his
Tsurumi continued to let out a strange noise, very
similar to a dog that was being strangled to death.
As if something was stuck in his throat. Crazy Dog
released his left hand that was used to press the
back of Tsurumi's head. Tsurumi was struggling, as
if he was lifted up in the air and he was writing
something on the ground.
His mouth was half-open and his body was
trembling. His blood was overflowing everywhere
and along with his jaw, it was dripping all over the
“A pro-wrestler can get his hands dirty too.”
Bunshichi remembered he heard that from
“Mr. Himekawa...sir?” someone was calling from
the darkness. Himekawa Tsutomu stood next to
Bunshichi. Looking at the gruesome scene with stiff
eyes. He would have preferred making his snarky
smile but his heart has become still as well.
“Mr. Himekawa?” A man came from the
darkness and kept on calling him. It was the same
man that made that phone call before when he was
“Would you mind if I watch this fight quietly
“I don’t care.” Himekawa responded.
Crazy Dog finally pulled out his finger and Tsurumi
collapsed on his knees and his back. The city lights
shone on Crazy Dog's index finger. It was glowing
with shiny, wet red colors mixed with a little of
black at the same time.
Crazy Dog opened his bloody mouth and sucked
his finger making a loud sucking noise. Turning
around facing Tanba.
“I'm fighting you...” Himekawa whispered in the
darkness while walking out to the light. He walked
casually with his hands down on the sides.
“Disgusting white pig...” Himekawa muttered
with a calm voice. Crazy Dog's red face has turned
even more redder.
In half a second, Himekawa charged all of a
sudden!! The mad dog didn’t run away. Bunshichi
was staring at Himekawa's right hand the moment
he made first contact with Crazy Dog. Himekawa
and the mad dog clashed violently.
Because of the impact, Himekawa was blown far
away to the back. Crazy dog moved forward with
the same speed as Himekawa was flying to the
back. Crazy Dog's humongous body fell on
Himekawa and it seem he was covering him
completely. He could not move his body. Felt like
a small mountain decided to sit on him Himekawa
tried to get himself out from under him. He finally
stood up and cleared out the dirt on his shirt.
“Puuhh...Is been a while, I tell you.” He looked at
Bunshichi and smiled widely.
“Just now....” Bunshichi said while looking
perplexed at Himekawa.
“Did you stab him!!?”
“You saw it, didn’t you?”
[ 210 ]
Himekawa asked him humorously, maybe
Bunshichi missed it for a second.
Every part of the face, for as simple and strong as
it may look, It carry a great deal of sensitivity and
Even if you don't see it, it’s the point intersecting
the middle of our nose and upper lip. If you press
softly enough, you'd feel the sensitivity. But the
harder you press, you will feel the pain and agony
until you stop. If you were in a real combat
situation, your body will make your vitals to hold
in a tight spot, making them harder to reach.
Doesn't matter what kind of person or his fighting
background could be, if he or she see something
flying to his or her face, the body will make all
sorts of movements to avoid it. Any sort of small
moves could protect these tiny vital spots.
“His opening attack was so simple, that, unless I
did something flashy to distract him, nothing else
would have worked as easy as that to take him
down.” Himekawa said with a cool voice.
“So...You intended to defeat him from the start?”
“Yes.” Himekawa answered while looking at the
man that was assisting him.
“Katou, please clean this up and get help for the
injured. Mr. Kawabe should be at the Tokai
Kankou hotel as we speak, so you can call him
“Yes, sir.” The man named Katou said. At that
same time, there was a rustling sound nearby. It
was Crazy Dog who was lying face-down like a
small mountain, he moved his body slowly but
surely, and got up.
“Pro-wrestlers are a people without a pattern,
don't you think so, Bunshichi?” Himekawa asked.
“That’s quite impressive.” he added shortly
Bunshichi was mysteriously impressed too. It was
amazing to see someone who was able to stand up
after getting one of his vital points violently
smashed in such a way, he didn’t think there could
be people like that.
[ 211 ]
Crazy dog stumbled a bit but he was able to get up.
Bunshichi and Himekawa were looking at that
immense body of his while Crazy Dog turned
around. He did it slowly as if he was searching for
Bunshichi and the others. While he turned, it was
visible that his nose was twisted in an unnatural
way. He looked at Bunshichi and Himekawa with
Himekawa walked towards Crazy Dog with a
relaxed walk and he even stood in front of him.
Crazy Dog did not move, that was when Himekawa
lifted up his right hand, lowered down his hip and
slightly hit Crazy Dog's chest with his palm. Crazy
Dog’s giant body fell down defeated and stumbled
down on his back. This time, though. Crazy Dog
remained immobile for the rest of the time they
“So, shall we go, then?” Said Himekawa with a
big smile looking at Bunshichi.
“Go? Go where?” Bunshichi asked, puzzled.
“Isn’t your “friend” waiting for you on the other
side?” When Himekawa said it, Bunshichi made an
expression as if he just realized that there was
somebody waiting for him, and Himekawa was
waiting for them too.
“That’s right.” Bunshichi said quietly with a small
smile. “Let's go”
The wind blew strongly. It seemed that the coastal
wind that came from the ocean had gotten a little
stronger. Blowing over treetops without leaves,
these haven’t grown yet in this season, but, in the
dark, the branches were making a faint wind noise
in the atmosphere. Two shadows were emerging
from the dark road. These were Bunshichi walking
along Himekawa on his left side.
[ 212 ]
Both men, Bunshichi and Himekawa, were walking
silently. Drawn into the darkness ahead, Bunshichi
knew he was walking to the place where Kajiwara
was waiting for him, but he sensed something
different within him.
His sense of excitement was overloaded. He loved
to fight and there was nothing in this world that
could excite him more than to face Kajiwara. But
instead, there was a strange sense of mental
fatigue. He felt that he used already the best of him.
He wondered what else he would do if he were to
win this fight...even though he didn’t have the usual
burning fighting spirit that brimmed in his body and
launched him to battle. He didn’t want to fight.
“I was scared.” He remembered what Kajiwara
told him. Wasn’t that enough to satisfy him?
He wondered about that himself, but he still
couldn’t come up with an answer, he didn’t
When he met him, he could have shake his hand,
invite him to a few drinks, laugh about a few
stories about his pro-wrestling matches...If he did
that.... What would have been the insult of it, then?
Why did they fight? Why do they have to fight for
now? Bunshichi was trying to find the reason why
they had to fight inside his head.
He visualized the faces of the men he had been
fighting so far until now. His eyes were as if they
were questioning something within his hunger for
fighting. The gruesome scene of his best friend
defeated, the face of Saito covered in blood
blurred by his own tears, floated in his mind. He
remembered the scene when Saito was fighting
very well. What was the name of the man that
killed him? He could not remember that. It was
“Kijima” but he already forgot that. He could only
remember his face before and after being beaten up
mercilessly by him
But then, Kajiwara's face would show up,
unbeatable, angry, powerful. He could have
destroyed him. He didn’t, nobody knows why even
today. His face kept showing up, never the loser,
never the defeated.
Better think in somebody else, who else was there?
Ryoji Kubo, that kid that was so impressed that
begged him to be his friend, his sharp eyes trying
to crack the secret of Bunshichi’s fighting ability,
there was also Izumi Souichiro's face. A kind and
wise person that accepted his reckless challenge.
Faces, different faces, angry faces, sad faces. They
wouldn’t stop invading his mind and unloading a
burden heavier than the last. They were tossing
them at Bunshichi’s back without caring if he was
able to carry them all, at all.
He felt that his hands and legs were getting heavy.
“What's wrong? Are you alright?” Himekawa
asked a bit concerned.
“It's nothing.” Bunshichi responded.
“Your body can't feel the excitement, huh!?”
“No, that's not it.” Bunshichi answered that, and
within his mind, he answered to himself the same.
“It all will come back, explode and burn once I
see him.” that's what he thought.
“It's truly a damn shame, isn’t it?” Himekawa
asked with a slightly pessimistic tone.
“I was looking forward to that, I thought I’d be the
person who’ll defeat you."
“Are you saying that I'm going to lose against
That can't be, Bunshichi thought to himself “what
the hell this guy is talking about? I’m not the same
guy that I was six years ago.”
Bunshichi heard the sounds of the twigs being
pushed gently by the wind. They kept walking at a
relaxed pace until Himekawa stopped walking and
stood right there. The trees in front of him blocked
Bunshichi’s view but about thirthy feet ahead of
him, something was moving in the dark.
The night city lights nearby illuminated a
formidable figure of a strong man doing some
“Your friend is here, waiting for you.” Himekawa
Kajiwara stopped moving at once, he rose up
slowly while looking at Bunshichi. He moved
forward and stopped a few meters before him.
Kajiwara took on the same expression, raw
ferocity, the first time he met Bunshichi at the
Toyoo Pro-Wrestling Gym
[ 214 ]
At that time, he came up from the shower room, at
the moment he looked at Bunshichi’s eyes; he
thought he had the fight in his pocket because he
“Hey!!” Kajiwara spoke with a low and raspy
If you were to stare into Kajiwara now, there is
more in that “Hey” than any roar or scream uttered
in the fighting streets of men and boys. A menacing
look and a fierce sound, enough to shut anyone
down, one would allow their muscles to release
their suspended anxiety the moment he diverted
his eyes, but it was followed by the loudest of
silences. He was looking at Bunshichi now, it was
the loudest sound.
“Are you sick or something? What's wrong?”
Kajiwara demanded an answer.
“Nothing.” Bunshichi answered quietly.
This is what he wanted all along. He made it all
the way here. His graven soul was waiting for six
years, the heaviest of hearts was what he was left
with. Quitting was damn well out of the question.
“Let's fight...” Bunshichi bellowed. He gave a
deep breath, lowered his waist, the hesitation
He was ready.
PART V: EVIL BEAST
[ 215 ]
EPILOGUE: CHAPTER I
"Damn, shit, fuck!! Pisses me off!!" These words
were repeating over and over in Ryoji’s head. He
was having a really hard time containing his anger.
The fact that Bunshichi abandoned him after such
an important fight felt like a betrayal and there
were no immediate options or alternate plans to
ease his frustration.
He started wandering hopelessly around the hotel
and finally decided to walk around Chinatown.
Once he arrived there, he started searching for
dark streets and hidden corners but the only shady
street he found was a very unpleasant narrow alley
filled with suspicious men loitering, drinking,
laughing. One guy was circling his arm around a
and you could tell he wasn’t doing it for free .
Another was vomiting behind a post. The tobacco
and cheap booze smell reeked around the area.
With all the lights and questionable businesses that
cater to the night life, Yokohama appeared to be
like a giant, intimidating maze. There was even a
small dark river that wasn’t smelling much better
For the second time, the Toukai Kankou hotel
received a phone call asking if Kajiwara had
returned and it was answered with the same words
as the first. “He wasn’t returned yet, sir.”
Sick of wandering the streets, Ryoji returned to the
hotel with the small hope that Tanba would be
there but he wasn't.
He was loitering in the bar and in the lobby and
after a short while, he was back in the street.
“What the fuck, I don’t wanna start crying for this.”
Ryoji was feeling desperate and in his brisk
walking, he started bumping into some people
several times. They insulted him with harsh words
and pushed him away but he cared little for what
they said or do, only spitting in the ground in
response. The desperation was getting the best of
He kept advancing until he bumped head on into
someone that was big and burly. Ryoji fell on the
floor but the tall figure didn’t move and just kept
looking at him.
[ 216 ]
“The fuck is your problem, dude!!?” Ryoji
screamed to the tall man that had shiny eyes and a
But before standing up, he noticed something
familiar about this man. He knew him. His tone of
voice changed immediately.
“Ohh!! You're the mighty Ox, Ushio Date.” he
said while standing up and dusting himself a little.
“ I knew it was you right away, what other kid
would have the balls to bump into me like that?”
“ Mr. Date, would you happen to know where my
old bro could be right now?”
“Who are you talking about?”
“My old bro...”
“You mean Bunshichi Tanba?”
“Yes sir. The asshole went ahead and left me
“Wait, do you mean Bunshichi came all the way
“He came here to fight Kajiwara, That's why he
left me behind. Probably he thought I would get in
“Tanba came to Yokohama....to fight Kajiwara?...”
His voice thickened. “Do you know any places he
could be right now?”
“I have no idea, even Kajiwara hasn’t returned to
his hotel yet, I called there a few times.” When
Ryoji mentioned that, Date groaned as if he was
expecting a bad outcome.
“That man sure is packing bad intentions within
his hands. He's quite aggressive” Date said shaking
his head with a small grin on his face.
“I don't know what to say, I really don't know this
place.” Ryoji mentioned sounding a little bit
After a brief moment, Date seemed to remember
“ I was wondering if Tanba maybe is planning to
ambush him in Yamashita park.”
“Isn’t that place quite far from where Kajiwara is
“Kajiwara is an idiot. He loves to jog from there
to the hotel after a performance. He did that in his
opening night too. It just makes him happy to run
from all the way from there, I guess.”
“Where’s Yamashita park!!?” Ryoji started
walking fast, away from Date, even though he
didn’t know where it was.
“This way, Follow me!!” Date started running and
he was quickly followed by Ryoji.
“That idiot!! Wait until I find him!!”
[ 217 ]
Ryoji's resentment and anger were growing as he
ran. He was never good at managing his emotions.
EPILOGUE: CHAPTER II
Bunshichi could hear the wind wafting through a
cherry tree branch that was on top of his head, it
was coming directly from the ocean. There was a
salty scent in the air. Maybe it was the smell of the
tide mixed with other vegetation from the
landscape. But it was an intense, warm salty air
that was reaching Bunshichi’s nose.
He noticed something strange in the ocean smell
this time, for some reason it felt...Human?
Suddenly he realized that it was his own sweat,
not from the earlier fight definitely. It was fresh
sweat pouring since he started the fight against
Kajiwara. Kajiwara was standing about fifteen
feet away from him and he still hadn’t made a
fighting stance yet, but his eyes were following him
much like a serpent.
Bunshichi also had not made a fighting stance yet.
He simply lowered his waist and said “Let's
But nobody had made a significant move yet since
he mentioned those words. In Bunshichi’s head
there were two questions running in his head.
“What kind of position will he use?” “Which move
will he use to start the fight?”
He was trying desperately to figure out the answer
to start the fight with a counter rather than a first
“Damn!! Is he going to kick!!? Maybe a feint low
kick? I'm sure he’ll try to grapple me in some
Pro wrestlers have this particular stance when
they're trying to kick, but their kicks aren't really
that powerful. If they want to launch a serious kick,
they need to have a proper stance, order of
movement and balance to achieve it.
“No, he’s not going for it.” Bunshichi thought.
In this kind of place, a simple wrestler can be
really dangerous by taking advantage of his usual
throwing and slamming techniques. Wrestlers don't
train just for the sake of getting back on their feet
after they've been slammed with a back-drop or a
body-slam They also trained for the purpose of
minimizing the impact of such techniques used on
[ 218 ]
The elasticity of the mat always absorbed the
damage of the impact. For example, if a wrestler is
challenged and this fight happens on concrete or
the floor of a Karate Dojo, The victory most likely
would be settled as soon as somebody received the
first body slam. If it was the case of somebody
landing with the back of their head due to a back¬
drop, the fight would have been over in an instant.
Kajiwara only had that particular advantage in this
Kajiwara started to sink his waist slowly. Gently
lifting up his arms, his hands were wide open.
Leaving a big gap between his hands and the center
of his body. Moving his arms back and forth, It
was the traditional pro wrestler stance.
Bunshichi felt a cold shiver at the base of his
spine making ripples in his back. He held his fists
and slowly moved closer to him while catching the
rhythm with his elbows. His focus was clear and
he felt confident in his condition and abilities but,
for some reason, he felt a void inside his heart.
All that rage and hatred towards Kajiwara was
now gone but no, that was not accurate. The hatred
was still burning inside of him but it wasn’t for
Kajiwara. That void in his chest was rolling down
like a boulder inside his body.
For the last six years he has been hungry for
fighting, eagerly waiting to settle this fight.
“Could it be that...?” Bunshichi thought to
“ If the opponent wasn't Kajiwara, I wouldn’t
have felt this void in my chest. The cells in my
body would have been happy and I would have
been feeling goosebumps to stand in front of my
opponent and enjoy the throw down.”
The distance towards Kajiwara had become much
smaller. His body gave a sensitive reaction toward
his opponent movements.
[ 219 ]
Kajiwara was protecting his chin and the left side
of his face with the back of his right hand and
trying to create some distance because he knew
about Bunshichi's high kick and he was being
cautious about it.
He lightly moved his left hand forward with an
open palm. The distance kept decreasing.
“Shuuh!!” Bunshichi let out a sharp breath while
launching a low kick aiming at Kajiwara's left leg
while it was drawing a short arc. Kajiwara
received the blow with his left knee and he did it
accurately. Right when Kajiwara lifted his knee, he
could see Bunshichi telegraphing his movements.
He started laughing about it.
Aiming at that laugh, Bunshichi hit him with a
right punch which Kajiwara blocked it beautifully
with his left arm
Following that attack, Bunshichi kept launching
low and medium kicks with both legs. He wasn’t
aiming at any particular point. He just wanted a
chance to let some good attacks land on his
His head, shoulder, abdomen, the legs, the
Bunchishi kept attacking every single part of the
human body possible but Kajiwara was able to
block every single attack masterfully. He even got
surprised when Kajiwara dared to let one of his
mid-high kicks land on his back on purpose
without much effect.
“Heahhhhh” Kajiwara let out a sound that much
resembled a serpent. Kicking the ground hard, he
launched an attack that had Bunchishi stepping
back and cramping his back for a moment.
[ 220 ]
With his free foot, Kajiwara aimed at Bunshichi’s
abdomen like a serpent and after landing that, that
slick serpent goose-neck was searching to smash
Bunshichi’s nose. That was a very intense kick. To
be honest, that was the kind of blow that you would
shatter somebody's jaw easily. Not too long ago he
had used that fast kick on some unlucky sap in the
ring and the result was inevitable.
Usually, the pro-wrestler kick cannot be compared
in power to superior kicks like the Karatekas or
Muay Thai boxers. They are nowhere near as
powerful. For starters, they don't lift high enough.
Compared to their opponent stances, you can't
possibly kick their heads if you are a pro wrestler.
Unfortunately, for Tanba, Kajiwara was different
from the rest.
He had such a gift for kicks that if he launched a
front high kick to an opponent, most likely the
impact would reach to the back of his head.
“Talk about prolific...” Bunchishi thought to
himself. With a kick of such caliber, Kajiwara
could leave a burning smell in the air. Let alone
getting hit by it.
The chance opened itself for him. Bunshichi was
aiming for Kajiwara's left foot and kicked him with
all his might. That's when Kajiwara upper body
started shaking. With the same kick, Bunshichi was
aiming for Kajiwara's head and continued the
attack. However, that kick didn’t land on
Kajiwara's head. Kajiwara lifted his left arm and
blocked that blow. Then, he trapped Bunshichi's
right foot in his left armpit.
This time, the target was Bunshichi's pivotal leg.
Before that, Bunshichi jumped with his right foot
and kicked Kajiwara's right side of the head with
his left foot. Sinking his head, Kajiwara avoided
that attack and left Bunshichi kicking air. Then, he
put the weight on Bunshichi's leg that he was
holding all along. Bunshichi slammed the ground
with his right shoulder first.
[ 221 ]
Had he slammed the ground with his right hand,
the damage would have been considerable and the
broken bones would have left him exposed and
defeated. At this moment, it was obvious that
Kajiwara was aiming to damage Bunshichi’s right
Achilles tendon, but, in between that momentum,
Bunshichi recovered from the slam and tried to
kick Kajiwara's head while on the ground,
However, Kajiwara was able to block with his
right hand. Somehow, Kajiwara’s strength had
become slightly loose.
Bunshichi flipped his body horizontally. Pulling his
right leg, he kicked Kajiwara's stomach with his
left foot. Kajiwara tried to block it with both his
arms. It slipped out. Kneeling down, Kajiwara
tried to do a takedown on Bunshichi that was still
trying to get up. He had gotten into his chest.
Bunshichi desperately tried to use both his elbows
and planted them repetitively on Kajiwara's
shoulders that were as tough as big rocks and
boulders. However his posture wasn’t good enough
and his blows had no effect at all.
He had been finally brought down to his back and
he was pressed from above. Kajiwara seized his
left wrist with his hand. He was trying to pull an
arm lock of some sort. Bunshichi regretted it. He
should have run away before he had gotten into that
situation. His back was shaking violently, while
carrying Kajiwara's weight on his chest, he tried to
get himself up from the ground. This was a pro
Suddenly, Bunshichi made an impressive human
arch with his body. It seemed that in between that
desperate struggle, he had swallowed some dirt
and pebbles from the ground. Kajiwara sighed.
Using his forehead as fulcrum, Bunshichi twisted
his own body and in that way he was able to free
himself from the arm lock. But this didn’t happen
without damage as Bunshichi's forehead was
bleeding and the open wound had some pebbles
and dirt mixed with the open skin. But this was a
small price to pay in exchange for seizing
Kajiwara's arm. It was Bunshichi's time to get
some payback with ground fighting of his own.
[ 222 ]
During the moment when he took Kajiwara's right
arm, they were able to stand side-by-side. That's
when Kajiwara and Bunshichi's eyes meet one
Kajiwara laughed. While he was still laughing, he
approached his forehead to Bunshichi and
“Bang!!” he gave him a strong head-butt right
between his nose and mouth. He managed to get
even closer and “Bang!!” he landed another one.
Bunshichi felt a warm river fell from his nose. It
“Bang!!” for the third time, the rugged forehead
found his mark for a head-butt. For the fourth time
Bunshichi released his right hand and tried to nab
Kajiwara with his right fist. Surprisingly enough,
he was able to land a good one on Kajiwara's nose
After that heated exchange, both men tumbled and
competed with each other on the ground. Their
look was almost the same. Both of them with
bloody faces with some mud and bruises all
around. It was a muddled and frightening fight.
Little by little, slowly and gradually, both of them
managed to increase the damage done to each
other. If we were to compare them to their first
fight. One would say that they became more
persistent this time. Much like two serpents
battling and trying to entangle each other. Those
who would have watched the fight once would not
be able to tell which person attacked whom. It
would have to be filmed to be analyzed. There
were occasions when the person on top was in
more pain than the person on the bottom because
their faces got distorted.
But as you can see, there were neither lights nor
spectators who could bear witness to this dirty
Himekawa was the only person who watched the
fight. He watched them fight with a smile so big,
his fine nostrils were expanding a little. His
delicate face had this delighted look of someone
finally finding a treasure that he sought for so long.
[ 223 ]
EPILOGUE: CHAPTER III
The wind was blowing from the ocean. The twigs
and branches were making an eerie sound within
the darkness and silhouettes of Yamashita park.
Two dark shadows were running frantically and
emerged from the trees.
It was Date and Ryoji. Along the trail, Date
suddenly stopped and his nose wriggled a little.
“What's wrong, Mr. Date?” Ryoji asked and
“This is strange, I smell blood.” Date answered
“Blood, you say?”
“No matter how little blood there's around, I can
smell it and it always stinks ”. Date started
Ryoji followed him not too far behind, he kept the
pace. In an instant, both of them stopped when they
saw three men lying down in the dark. Two of them
were under a cherry tree. The man that was resting
in the trunk of the cherry tree looked like he was in
severe pain and just got defeated. Groaning
constantly, the other was just resting down, it felt
that they were so injured and weak.
But the person away from the cherry tree looked
like a mountain, he didn't make any sounds.
“Hell, this is Crazy Dog.” Date said while
walking towards him.
“What the hell happened in here!!?” Date asked
the one that was semi conscious resting on the
Shimura, that sustained an injury when his wrist
got bent by Bunshichi, was looking at Date in pain.
He realized he was talking to someone from Toyoo
“He defeated me.” he groaned in shame.
“Defeated you? Who?”
[ 224 ]
“Bunshichi did. He defeated both of us but the big
guy over there was defeated by Himekawa.” He
kept talking but due to the pain, he was having
“Himekawa?” It seemed that it was the first time
Date heard that name.
“I think Katou left to call Kawabe.”
“But I need to tell you, I think the police and the
ambulance might come here soon, there was a
couple that saw us and left in a hurry, probably
they called them...” Shimura could say just so much
until he got interrupted by Ryoji.
“I don’t have time, tell me where is Kajiwara and
my old bro Tanba now!!”
“They're over there...”
“Ahh! Shit!!” Ryoji ran towards the darkness and
didn’t look back.
“Hey, if you help me out, we’ll be able to move
this dude closer to here” Date said, Looking at the
“Whatever, just get lost.”
“We will never be able to move this giant dude to
“He’ll have to walk by himself.” Date said.
“Tsk...” Date spit to the ground.
“He got beat up pretty bad.” Date kicked Crazy
Dog's cheek with his shoe. Shimura was looking at
him with a disgusted look in his face and Crazy
Dog started groaning a little while his giant body
“It is hard to believe the monster has finally been
defeated.” Murmured Shimura.
[ 225 ]
Shimura stood up, He helped Tsurumi stand up
with his right hand and put Tsurumi’s arm on his
“Shit!!” Date kicked Crazy Dog's groin area but
he didn’t notice, he just groaned a little.
Surprised by it, Crazy Dog lifted up his hip and
yelled “Ugh!! Damn it...” He murmured under his
Grabbing him by the collar, Date told him “If you
still want to fight in Japan's rings, you'll do exactly
as I say...”
“First, you'll get up and walk on your own, even
if you have to crawl, you'll call Kawabe on your
cellphone or find a nice Taxi drive that's kind
enough to give you a ride to the hospital...”
Hearing this, Crazy Dog tried to lift himself up
without avail. Date really started getting worried
that he’d get involved in some mess he had no
business to begin with, until he heard a couple of
footsteps behind him and a familiar raspy voice.
“Date...you're here...” It was Kawabe.
“Isn’t it fun when shit hits the fan?” Date said
“This is horrible...” Kawabe said in a serious
voice. “Being a victim of a hit and run.”
“ What!?” Date got confused.
“Crazy Dog was run over by a car and the driver
got away...If that's the case.” Kawabe said
“Sure, that's what it was...” Date smiled and
“Now, where are Tanba and Kajiwara...?”
Kawabe asked while looking around.
“I’ll take care of it, leave them to me.”
“Can I trust you?”
“Come on Old Kawabe, I've been in the wrestling
world longer than you, I just retired last year but I
still can pull my strings just fine.
[ 226 ]
“Alright...” Kawabe nodded and picked Crazy
Dog up from the ground.
“Had I knew it was going to turn like this, I would
have had someone smaller to do this.”
“Well, you have to leave now. Someone already
called the cops about the fights and the injured in
this area, I’ll see you around.” Date said while
running toward the place where Bunshichi was.
EPILOGUE: CHAPTER IV
Ryoji found both men entangled in a fierce battle.
He couldn’t say or do anything but watch with a
sad face how this fight was going to end. It wasn’t
exciting, he felt that he was about to cry. At his
side was Himekawa Tsutomu admiring the fight
with the same faint smile and delighted look. His
eyes were absentminded. Much like when someone
stops for a while to admire a beautiful thing that
cannot see everyday. The ocean wind fluttered
Himekawa's long black hair sideways giving him a
majestic look. From inside his mouth, Ryoji Kubo
kept whispering pleads to Bunshichi to stop.
“Come on. Old bro, this is enough...”
He wanted to jump in the middle and stop this
nonsense and get him to a safe place.
“Why do these two have to fight so bitterly? For
what reason?” He had seen the enjoyment of
Bunshichi’s street fights many times before. But
this time, he wasn't enjoying this match. It was sad,
it was painful. Much like seeing your best friend
being tortured in front of you. Ryoji almost couldn’t
contain his tears watching the fight.
He always enjoyed watching him fighting,
watching anybody fighting. It was the first time that
he hated this fight. It was painful to watch and he
couldn’t wait for it to stop.
While punching and kicking Kajiwara, Bunshichi
felt that he was receiving the same amount of pain
that he was inflicting to his opponent. He also
noticed the damage and pressure in his own joints
when he was targeting the same joints of Kajiwara.
It also seemed that he could experience Kajiwara's
pain when he attacked him.
[ 227 ]
It was the strange experience of feeling that his
body and Kajiwara's were connected by a
mysterious bond that made them feel the same, the
same pain, the same feelings, the same sadness.
Almost like a mirror.
The more he tried to attack Kajiwara, the more he
was tormenting himself. Ryoji sensed this. He
wanted to desperately be the beacon that would
bring Bunshichi back to his reality. He stopped
caring. He let his tears roll down his cheeks.
“Bro, that's enough!!” Ryoji yelled. “This fight
has to stop!!”
The light of the moon was reflected in Ryoji's
tears. He was so distraught that he didn’t notice that
Date was standing next to him and his feet felt like
they were almost nailed to the ground.
The martial arts stopped, the fighting spirit was
gone. What remained was the void and the
loneliness of two men hurling weak blows and
empty attacks at each other. Mixed with the mud
and blood. Everything was fading away into
You could hear Ryoji's screams in the wind. You
could also hear the sirens of police in the distance
getting closer and closer. The sound of the ocean
crashing onto the shore was gradually being
overtaken by the familiar sound of sirens and the
flashes of blue and red were getting closer and
Those screams, sounds and colors were supposed
to reach Bunshichi and Kajiwara ears and eyes....
But no, it might not reach them after all.
“Come on, bro!!” Ryoji kept screaming.
But Bunshichi did not move. He did not win the
battle that day, in fact, neither did Kajiwara. There
was nothing to win, probably never was... and
An unbearable loneliness had stuck in Bunshichi's
face. He had fought with himself.
[ 228 ]
[ 229 ]
AFTERWORD by Yumemakura
If you have been reading my books for a while,
you'll notice that this is my first novel attempt that
doesn't include any science-fiction, magical or
occult elements. Why is that, you might ask? Well...
“I got two strong guys here, which one of them is
stronger?” The theme is quite simple, yet
fascinating. I always wanted to write stories about
martial artists someday and this is one of them. I
was always wondering “Why is it that nobody
want to write stories about the modern Miyamoto
Musashi?” The wandering man that wanted to test
his might and skill without having to involve
himself in a tale of self redemption or “rescue the
girl”. Just test himself for the sake of fighting
enjoyment? Why is it that when we say “a martial
arts novel” it always has to involve a psychic, a
CIA agent or some sort of military or magical
reborn Kung-Fu guy? Why can’t they focus on an
ordinary swordsman story? They're always a
private investigator Karate expert or a criminal
that's just good at Judo. Why does nobody ever
bother to write a story of a simple fighter or
somebody that just uses Karate as their main
It doesn't mean that there has never been “good
novels with combat themes in it” I just thought that
the story about the modern Miyamoto Musashi
would be a little different in these times.
How about the story about the modern “Sugata
I have to say in Japanese comic “Manga” form,
there are a lot of them. My favorite is “Karate
Baka Ichidai” (Karate for life, A Crazy Karate life.
In USA is known as “Karate Master” on HULL!)
there's also “The Karate from hell” (Karate
Jigokuhen) and “The Karate Three Kingdoms”
(Karate Sengoku) Finally edited into separate
How did they know that we needed stories like
that? Who told them??
In my case, when it come to stories about fighters,
you just can't ignore or leave pro wrestling behind.
But how was I was going to integrate pro wrestling
to the “Modern Miyamoto” story? I know how
people with common sense have a specific vision
about pro wrestling.
[ 230 ]
“It’s a show”, ’’it's fake”, ”It's scripted”, “It’s
arranged”, “It's just a fight between Yakuza” etc....
We don’t know whether it's true or not but there's
nothing that it can be done if people think about it
in that way.
After all, there's no mistake in saying that the
world of pro wrestling is marred in sorrow.
I like pro wrestling, Karate and Kick-boxing, but
I’m just an amateur that has never experienced them
directly. But for sure. I'm also a fan of the
Miyamoto Musashi story, who would fight people
in “one against one” kind of matches.
I should probably write a story about that. About
an amateur fighter that likes to challenge other
skilled people in “one versus one” fights. And so,
this became the theme for this book.
And I became very satisfied with the theme too. It
got me thinking “Is there a person that would care
more about expressing stubbornness rather than
fighting scenes and scores?” I'm sure there must be
someone strange like that.
There should not be a win-loss situation between
Bunshichi and Kajiwara when they fought for the
first time either.
I really wanted to mention this in the book. Inside
the book, there's still someone who could have
become a wrestler a few years later even if they
weren’t born from the pro wrestling organization
called the UWF. If you haven't watched the fight
between Super Tiger and a wrestler called
Fujiwara Yoshiaki, but still want a clearer
explanation concerning the UWF, Technically, they
were formed earlier than when this book was
written. If you cannot see their technical
composition of “Kicks and joint locks” you would
not be able to write a book about it.
[ 231 ]
About the other fighting scenes in this book, for
those who are familiar with the Japanese pro
wrestling and Karate world would probably
remember and quote them when they read this
book. There might be inspiration for such scenes in
the surface but remember that this book is my
literary creation and I did not mean offense to
current fighting organization or actual persons.
There’s something I need to confess though. This
book will not end in this volume, originally there
was a plan to end this book in a single volume but I
get a bad habit on falling in love with my good
stories and it get longer and longer the more I write
and the more people ask me to make more out of
This story would probably be over in three
volumes, at least, that's the plan.
What kind of moves would Tanba use against
experts of different martial arts? Boxing? Kung-
Fu? Aikido? Even sumo!!? wow, there's such a
vast world that sometimes I can't keep my eyes
closed just thinking what is he going to find next.
The more I think about it, the more exciting it
Ah, It's happening again as we speak. I’m not sure
if I already got it but I think I have developed a
stomach ulcer. Somehow when my stomach is
empty. I'll feel the pain right away. When I start
writing the manuscript, I feel my stomach turning
upside down. And when I grab my stomach with
both my hands, I feel my hands are tied up. I can
even see the creamy yellow gastric juice when I
vomit. Until last year, any time it happened, I
would not force myself too much and I would fill
my stomach right away. Somehow I managed to do
something about it. But this time it was not the
case. I did not have appetite and food could not
seem to reach my stomach. Even if I forced myself
to eat, I would throw up right away. On top of it,
for the past month, I felt that this situation would
never end. Even when I went to see the doctor, I
would not get better. Even if I coughed my lungs
out, I would still not stop coughing. From my throat
came a voice that was at the verge of dying. It was
painful, I was in tears. When I coughed, I felt that I
was trying to force my lungs to breath in some air.
It was a terrible situation for me. Moreover, it was
really painful for my lungs to breathe in the air that
was piled up in my stomach. My tongue would get
tense and saliva started coming out. I would not
speak for at least an hour.
[ 232 ]
And just like that, it turned into a real stomach
ulcer. I had to cancel the fishing trip that I was
looking forward to because I couldn’t stand the
pain. In the middle of the night, I had to get out of
the hotel because it hurt so much. I was going to go
for a walk and breathe some fresh air because I
couldn’t sleep and finally I decided to go to the
hospital when I started coughing and my stomach
killed me every time I cough. The pain was way
Once I arrived, the doctor ordered me to take some
Barium and took an X-ray of my stomach and I
figured the cause why I got this stomach ulcer...
I've been working too hard.
It used to be that I would finish my manuscripts
during the night. I always work better overnight
and I would go to sleep in the morning. But this
time, I couldn’t finish the second page of it. I
forced myself to eat something to get some energy
but to no avail. I just couldn’t continue. Finishing
the second page and with so many ideas and
enthusiasm to write. I had to quit and I got sad
because of it. In the morning, once again, I rushed
to the hospital. I did my best to get better but I still
failed and I let a lot of people down but had my
body not started screaming at this moment. I would
still have pushed myself to this sad state after
pouring so many ideas on my pages.
I was stuck in bed. I felt a lot of things that were
escaping from my body here and there, High fever,
shoulder pain, my neck pain was so bad I couldn’t
turn it even if I wanted. The gums from my back
tooth started swelling and even though I could
touch my cheek softly, The pain was horrible and
almost unbearable. As if I was pushing invisible
nails, those suckers that you couldn’t see but you
feel the real pain behind them!! Even swallowing
spit would give me a painful vibration. I open my
mouth and the muscles between my teeth turned
black. Even if I chew a small gran of rice would
give me considerable pain. Sincerely I can't wait
until I'm better so I can eat something else beside
Why is he writing this? You might ask, I had the
great idea that writing about it would ease the pain
a little but is not the case, it hurts even more.
Another idea of mine that doesn’t work. When it
comes to our bodies, we must be humble and not
overconfident. We can't muscle out the pain every
single time. We never know when we will become
sick and weak. For us, humans, we can't stay sick
for much longer. Getting sick sucks. I think I heard
someone say once “Everyone has their own limits”
so I tell you, once you feel you reached your limit,
just do what you can. You are not doing yourself
favors by running until you're dead. Stay healthy
and give up once in a while. You are not going to
win all your battles in this life anyway.
Anyway, to end this volume in a good note, let's me
tell you a little of what's coming next. In \blume 2,
Tanba will meet Matsuo Shozan. How would they
find each other? What would be their reaction? I
keep visualizing the scenes in my mind but I can't
write them right now. I want to start writing so
bad. You will really enjoy it.
Please look forward to it, I promise you that, from
Volume 1 to Volume 3 I won’t let you down.
Until we meet again.
Showa period, year 60, June 13 th of 1985. In
[ 235 ]
GAROUDEN COMMENTARY by
Jirou Kitaue (chief editor of Futabasha action
A few years ago, I wrote a small review on the
novel “Chimera” by Yumemakura Baku. The words
"deep, dazzling, and sad" came to mind
immediately. That's what I was thinking the whole
time I was writing the review.
The story was superb, the characters were dazzling
and sparkling, the plot was deep and all that was
great but why did I find it sad?
I thought about it, even after re-reading
“Garouden” a couple of times, I still can't
understand why there was sadness in a
Yumemakura Baku action novel. So this time, I'd
like to take the oportunity to write about it.
From his first short stories "Nekohiko no
Oruorane" to his popular series “Chimera” and
“Yamigari shi” (Leader of demon hunters)
Yumemakura Baku works are always “One step
close to reality”. When you think about it, the
characteristics that he bring to the table is always
the perfect mixture of fantasy and reality. The fact
that nowadays people tend to separate what is
“fantasy” and what is “believable as fiction” and
he comes and create a “Hard fantasy” is absolutely
astounding, his stories are truly unique.
From his purely fantastical work of "Nekohiko no
Oruorane" his standpoint was clear. Then he
started “Chimera” and “Yamigari shi” and he
started cementing his reputation as a talented
But starting in 1985, he seemed to hang his
“Fantasy” coat and started work on “Garouden”
and “Shishi no mon”
To give you a better example, this was written in
the original first edition of “Garouden volume I”
(published by Futabasha in 1985. [for the english
version we're using and quoting the pages of “The
Bound Volume I” a 2006 omnibus edition]
—“For Yumemakura Baku, this is the first attempt
as a profesional author to write a novel without
adding any science-fiction or fantastical elements
from the occult.”—
The plot was quite simple: There’s a strong man
“Bunshichi Tanba” that likes to fight, but six years
ago he was defeated by a pro wrestler by the name
of “Toshio Kajiwara” and since then, he has been
dreaming of confronting him again.
[ 236 ]
He continued his training and finally after
countless battles, he was finally able to fight
Toshio Kajiwara six years later at Yamashita park
when both men were at their peak of their abilities.
When you summarize the story in a few lines, you
might think we’re misleading you in some way, but
no, that’s pretty much the whole story.
Of course there were other interesting characters
like Ryoji Kubo, a boy that idolizes Tanba. The
founder of the strongest Karate School in Japan
“Matsuo Shozan” and his top disciple, a
mysterious man called “Himekawa Tsutomu” and
Kawabe from the Toyoo pro-wrestling group, the
employee of a man known as “The Great Tatsumi”.
However, if this story doesn’t have fantastical
settings or Sci-Fi elements like his previous
works, the only thing he would be able to focus in
his writing is Tanba's frustrations and flashbacks
leading to the climatic final fighting scene.
He also mentioned that he wanted to work in the
“modern Miyamoto Musashi story” and wondered
why nobody had tried it before besides the “action
manga guys” Only authors like Yumemakura Baku
wonder about such things and henceforth he was
inspired to craft such a unique physical fighting
“Simple plot?” as if, A very deep story. Just look
at the fighting scenes, didn’t you get excited just
reading about it? Were the scenes repeating in your
mind both in slow motion and sometimes as fast as
However, there was also sadness in this novel, for
example, when you finished reading the end of the
climax of the battle against Kajiwara, were you
cheering for his final victory or suddenly you felt
you might want to cry? Why?
There’s a number of hints regarding to this, first,
the final line of the novel “He had fought with
himself.” means that; because “Garouden” is a
fighting novel, the meaning of sorrow cannot be
solved. That's all it is.
“Fukkatsuru Machi” is a long collaborative novel
series where the main character “Karura Bunkichi”
earns his living by betting on Shogi. This doesn’t
mean that there has never been a novel that
featured Shogi as a theme. But this isn't a
“Biography” or a “Mystery” novel. It doesn’t even
show you the scores of the games. This “Karura
B u nkichi” is the father of “Karura Bumpei” who
appears in “Shishi No Mon”. That Bumpei also
appears here, also “Hikoroku Hashiba” too. To the
delight of fans, the author makes a cross-over
between “Fukkatsuru Machi” and “Shishi no Mon”
and they'll be happy to read about it but, actually,
"Fukkatsuru Machi" is an unimaginable fighting
novel of a man who is obsessed with Shogi.
[ 237 ]
What kind of novel is “Fukkatsuru no Machi”? All
we can say is “about fighting” the fighting
obviously happens in a board with pieces. “What
kind of rook will he use?” “What kind of moves
will he counter?” “How will he counter this?” “He
lost once to this guy, will he get beaten again?”
“With what tactics?”. It is a suffocating fight that is
developed on a board. It is a “one of a kind” story.
But if you care little about Shogi rules and traps
and just want the “pure fighting” then you need to
go and read its twin novel “Garouden” It is an
extremely miraculous novel.
When it comes to “Garouden” I understand it
perfectly. For starters, it's a novel about men that
are strong, skilled fighters and naturally they bump
on each other while being drunk on the fame,
fortune, lights, the applause of the masses or
simply the adrenaline of a combat situation. If
Yumemakura Baku were to do a “Shogi” series, he
still would use “pure fighting” as his core and
would make it about Strong men bumping on each
other. I've never seen an author like him. But this
is the greatest hint.
Look at “Moushuu no Kaze” a novel story that has
been compiled in “Fukkatsuru no Machi” Onita
Keisuke is an amateur Shogi player that cannot
become pro because of the restriction on age
limits, but still dreams on breaking those age
barriers and becoming a pro. In the word
“fighting” that Yumemakura often writes in his
novels it is the keyword to solve this problem.
How can he do it?
Onita doesn’t want fortune or fame, Onita wants to
become a pro because he could not find worthy
opponents among the other amateurs. He was the
strongest. Moreover, Onita was looking for a
stronger opponent, which means, going pro was the
only solution. However, the road to become a pro
has closed for him forever and Onita's moment of
suffering began there.
In “Garouden” Bunshichi was hoping to fight the
wrestler Kajiwara but Toyoo pro wrestling
wouldn’t let him due to the so called "organization
wall." But Tanba is a hero that desires to fight
with strong people wherever, whenever.
Garouden is the quintessential “pure fighting”
novel, nonetheless, physical body and bare flesh
are not the only context of his work. If you want
something of the “fighting genre” then a novel like
“Fukkatsuru no Machi” would be good for you.
The point is not the physical body, there’s also the
point that the character has a motivation to become
stronger. That’s why “Fukkatsuru no Machi” came
Then, why it is sad?
[ 238 ]
“Wanting to become stronger” It is because of this
dream If you have an opponent you could fight, it
will be very beneficial if you train yourself before
the upcoming match. But if you win, what will
happen? Will you discard your goal after that?
There’s always self contradiction in “wanting” and
“having it”. If you want to escape from the
contradiction, there's no other way but to keep your
dream alive. In the climax of “Garouden I”
Bunshichi almost cried when Kajiwara told him “I
was scared of you.” At that very moment, he lost
both, opponent and goal.
Of course, this story is not over yet, because this
series will be a trilogy and, who knows, maybe
more (after all, is it May 1998 as we speak) There
will be more characters jumbled together coming
at him, and if Bunshichi was alive in the real
world, then it will be assumed that his next
opponent would have to be Shozan Matsuo. I
wonder if the final clash between these two
characters will be the final curtain of “Garouden.”
For some final words, the story that Yumemakura
Baku writes is about the dreams of men, while
relentlessly pursuing these dreams they will also
face darkness, transience of dreams, fragility, and
[***EX TRA TEXT ADDED FOR THE 2006
OMNIBUS EDITION SPOLERS AHEAD OF
Wow, it went longer than three volumes, who
would have known!!? I don’t have much space left
but I wanted to comment about my favorite scene
of volume III. There was a dead serious fight
between Kajiwara and Nagata. In the middle of the
battle, Kawabe gets in the middle and stops them,
but not without injury!! Nagata keep screaming “I
will quit this organization!!” while punching,
kicking and beating Kawabe. It was really touching
to see Kawabe silently taking all that beating
without moving a muscle, only tears were rolling
down his cheeks. There are many male characters
in “Garouden” that often impress the readers, but
personally, my chest hurts every time I visualize
Kawabe with tears rolling from his eyes. He's a
man that has no other option but to stay in the
I also wanted to comment on the characters
problems but my space is running out. I guess I
will have another ocasion to write about this series
and its characters. I will take it as my homework
GAROUDEN COMMENTARY by
Ichido Reichan (leader of the wild fang
PROJECT, ENGLISH EDITOR^
“You are crazy, you know that? You know how
much it will cost you?”
I am, yes, I am sorry... No I’m not, I enjoy this
craziness. This line above you. Do you know how
much people love to repeat it to me, over and
over? And we get it done, Movies, manga books,
interviews and now our first novel is done.
Wait...What? I finished a novel?? but I am so lazy!!
I read comics, play games and watch movies all
day. Besides my day job, do you know how many
hobbies I have? Well, I was scared...not everyday
you decide to become Tolkien or J. J R. Martin.
Worse yet, “In Japanese” but let's start from the
beginning. Why a novel? Why this novel? Why
Back in 2001, about 15 years ago, I became
obsessed with a particular TV anime fighting
series “Grappler Baki” It came as quick as it came
in Japan thanks to Hong Kong editions, The
translations were horrible but it was very
watchable. Two anime seasons came and went and
the main character lost his mom, killed by his dad
and I shared that fictitious sadness which was very
real to me. His situation was somewhat alike to
mine so I became to invested in it.
....until it stopped....forever....
Damn!! what to do?? how will this thing continue?
No more animation...I guess...I’ll have to buy the
By 2003 and $300.00 spent later on a big box from
Japan, I got it all!! I was going to find out how the
anime continued the story of the boy fighting alone
against big guys but I couldn’t understand a thing!! I
don't have many Japanese friends and the ones that
I have do not want to be annoyed by comics they
read once and forget about them.
So advancing a few months, I just figured out the
pretty pictures and by the end of the last collection
(42 volumes the first and 26 volumes the 2 nd ) I
discovered that...it would continue, but nobody
knew for how long.
“Why do you collect books you can’t read?” good
question but I wanted to read them, so I used the
last resort available for me, I'm good at making
deals!! So first I tried to deal with these guys that
knew how to erase bubbles in Japanese and add
English on them and read the comics digitally. No
avail, I was ignored and taken for a fool. Then I
learned myself to do it, No avail, it came ugly as
crap. Then I gave some books to a dude to translate
3 volumes, No Avail, dude did one and half. Then I
paid a guy in Russia to translate, No avail, dude
translated 2 out of the 4 volumes that I paid in
advance (why would you do that!!? cause it was
cheap and I TRUSTED!!) so eventually I finished 4
and quit the thing.
At the time I had only four friends (the group) and
one of them was kind enough to finish volume 5
from the french edition and that's when the
popularity of our group exploded "The Wild Fang
Project" created solely for the purpose of finishing
all things "Grappler Baki" I told myself" I’ll finish
this thing and I'll quit.
But to no avail, once the french edition stopped at
volume 9, all sort of help stopped and to continue,
not only I needed to keep people working in
Japanese translations for me...I had to pay them,
and pay them "good".
So, I made the group private, set schedules,
deadlines, donations, guarantees of speed and
quality in exchange of monetary support and VIP
status for my members and even though I became
hated for it, we advanced to volume 27 of the
target series of "Baki" in 8 months!!! (I decided to
skip the first cause you can watch the anime for it)
and then...It stopped, we caught up to it.
So, having money and plenty of time left waiting
for a new volume every two months, I needed a
"filler" series so I researched more about fighting
manga from the author of Baki and fortunatelly I
found a rough and cool series about this guy that
started street fights for nothing, you guessed it
"GAROUDEN" The J apanese comic book series.
Working on Garouden was a pleasant time in my
life, I remember spending some good cash and
visualizing the fights and I fell in love with the
battle of\blume 14 and 15, those two men, best
friends, admiring each other and fighting crudely to
destroy each other but not because of hate, because
of the passion of fighting.
I hardly remember when the manga started coming
out and many fans of the series started popping out
from the internet. It is a personal satisfaction of
mine having introduced GAROUDEN to the world
and I cried with it. I cried with the battle of
Crybaby Sakura and Great Tatsumi (this doesnt
exist in the novel, so spoilers are pointless) also
my group of sponsors became passionate about
Jyumei Kuga, a dark karate master that doesn't
So as beautiful and cool as the manga was, the
manga author got into an argument with the original
publisher that owned the rights of the manga series,
they let him have his 25 volumes but beyond that,
They still own the continuation of the series and
the manga author has put the story on hold since
2010. After two amazing Videogames for
playstation two, one great movie that inspired the
comic book series and the constant doubt that it
will return. I had enough. There is a reason why
we love this story so much, either manga, game or
live action movie (we worked and played all
It is time to advance to the next level in this
Damn!! what to do?? how will this thing
continue? No more Manga...I guess...I’ll have to
buy the novel and advance to the next level.
Translating the source of GAROUDEN....
[ 241 ]
And after a year and a month of working with a
translator, raising funds to complete it, here we
are, nice to meet you and I hope you enjoyed our
first novel of “Garouden” I realized that a lot of
the inspiration for “Baki” came from this novel
series. Fast forwarding into 2016, Yumemakura
Baku has sold dozens of millions of books in his
His works have inspired movies, series and manga
series, some of them originals, some based on
His latest achievement is a big budget production
of “Everest: in the summit of the gods” to be
released in 2016.
His released books are more than 350 and he keep
writing his hit series “Chimera” and “Leader of the
Demon hunters” but we, as a fighting fans we are,
we will concentrate in releasing his series
“Garouden” and “Shishi no Mon”
“You are crazy, you know that? You know how
much it will cost you?”
Yes, a lot!! I am, yes, I am sorry... No I’m not, I
enjoy this craziness. This line above you. Do you
know how much people love to repeat it to me,
over and over? And we get it done, Movies, manga
books, interviews and now our second novel will
start production soon and I invite you to read it,
after you read it. If you still feel like it can't be
done then don’t worry about it. Life will keep
going as always but if you help us in this project
and you enjoy reading Baku's favorite pure fighting
novel series. Help us, we need your enthusiasm
and economic help to finish this whole novel
series. There are 13 novels plus a special chapter
(fist of the blue wolf) for the first series. The
manga ends in volume 7 of the novels, the second
series are called “Shin Garouden Hiden Kiku Shiki
Hen" (New Garouden: the saga of the secret
fighting styles parts one and two, two novels of
350 pages each) and the third and probably final
series "Shin Garouden Kenshin Kotei Hen" (New
Garouden: The saga of gods against emperors parts
one and two) also two 350 page novels plus 8
"shishi no mon" which is done because we love
Jyumei Kuga and he's the main bad guy there.
So, how can you help? We will let you know, in the
meantime look around for The Wild Fang Project,
we're closer than you think. We will see you again
in our next book Release. In the meantime, here's a
sample of "Shishi no mon"
Ichido reichan: Main editor and leader of the Wild
January 16 2016
End of Volume 1
For your enjoyment, here's an extra
bonus for you, SHISHI NO MON
chapter 1, the full volume will be
availiable in mid 2016.
THE GATE OF FIERCE
Super violent fighting novel series
Volume one: The wolfpack Arc
-Translations by Miyuki
- Production, design and rewritten
edition by Ichido Reichan
- Corrections by Mindblighter
- Project financed by The Wild Fang
- originally written as SHISHI NO MO\
- all rights reserved by Kobunsha.
[ 001 ]
INDEX OF VOLUME I:
- CHAPTER I: Chikusho fist
- CHAPTER H: Gedo fist (TBA)
- CHAPTER HI: Gaki fist (TBA)
- CHAPTER IV: Nio fist (TBA)
- CHAPTER V: His turn (TBA)
- Words from the author
- Words from Wild fang project editor
[ 006 ]
It would be easy to make a novel of "good guys
against bad guys" but you'll know how it ends.
How do we separate the "good" from the "bad
guys"? are the bad always bad? what if the bad
guys are amazing martial artists and we can’t help
but admire their core and arts?
Well my dear reader, this novel doesn’t have any of
that, there isn't a clear "hero" or "nemesis" as you
might have figured out. We have five main
characters and we have no idea how their paths
will cross. Five unusually strong and talented guys
by the name of Kikuchiyo Akuta, Kan Takechi,
Reiji Shimura, Bunpei Kakura and Takeshi Muroto.
You can pick your favorite from the group and chee
They will meet him, they will compete, they will
fight against each other, they will improve their
skill and eventually the five stories will become
one. Come and enjoy the stories of men that are
looking forward to discover themselves in the heat
of battle, to challenge the strongest fighters around.
Let the lions get loose in a paradise of fierce
[ 007 ]
The wind was blowing everywhere, sweeping the
making that wet atmosphere seemed like the wind
turned somehow into a green color.
The majestic sky with a gray blanket of solid gray
let a few thunderclouds slide and slowly, a shade
of light opened its way, bigger and bigger, as if the
mighty force of light erased the gray across the sky.
The blue sky opened a greater space as if a strong
force behind it was pulling the strings, pushing the
clouds away to fade into the horizon.
Like a fierce hammer striking down from the sky
upon the land, the sun's rays landed on the prairie,
but this didn’t stop the rain from pouring on the
land, one strike of sunlight, one stride of rain, the
wind is still green and still wet on the ground. A
waist-high sea of daisies and green lilies waving
furiously; it appeared as you could sink in them.
The wind drove all this green vegetation left and
right, in all directions, you couldn’t miss it, the
wind was visible wherever you looked.
[ 008 ]
It was here that Hikoroku Hashiba was facing one
of the most intimidating men he had ever met.
This man across Hikoroku had sharp crescent eyes,
and by the look of his face, one could estimate that
he was in his forties, most likely forty-three or
What was a little startling about him was the color
of his skin: it was almost like a dark solid iron
color and, combined with his iron-sharp glance as
if a million needles were launched to Hikoroku
just by staring at him. There was no doubt that this
encounter was going to end violently.
Everything the man was wearing was black: his
shoes, his long pants and a shirt with long sleeves,
both men were soaking wet and Hikoroku, wearing
just a pair of comfy jeans and a cotton shirt, felt as
if he wasn’t really wearing anything on his chest.
The shirt was stuck on his skin and was showing
the form of his abs and the color of his skin; water
was sliding down from each end of both men’s long
strings of hair.
"I heard master Rosen had passed away" Hikoroku
spoke with a soft tone.
"It was because of you!! It's your fault!!" The man
replied with a strident voice.
"My fault? How can it be?"
"You challenged him and soon after that he died
from his wounds"
"That’s very unfortunate, I never intended for that
"Tell your excuses to someone who cares."
[ 009 ]
Swiftly, the man took a stance and slowly started
moving towards Hikoroku, effectively closing the
distance between them.
"Wait!!" Hikoroku yelled at the man.
"I won't..." the man replied...
'Tve waited for this moment for the last three
years, this will be settled today..."
He was ready to spring at him. Lowering his waist,
the opening attack would be swift and
A moment of silence, both men standing still while
a thick beam of sunlight illuminated both of them,
their space and then it kept moving towards the wet
and green prairie.
Soon enough, the rain eased up a bit, still frozen in
the moment, both men were staring at each other
until a move broke the silence, it was a sound, a
scary sound, but not a loud or a startling sound.
It was a breath....
The man took a deep breath and when the glance in
his eyes turned deadly, he dashed across towards
[ 010 ]
CHAPTER 1: THE CHIKUSHO
He was just a kid walking down an asphalt road ii
The sleeves of his big T-shirt were very loose
because of the skinny arms of this kid. If by a joke
we were to fit two or three more kids inside this
shirt, they would have fit without a problem.
The legs that were visible from the pants also lack
The mud on his knees was almost dry, his pants
were pretty wet around his waist and a big, black
stain was visible. He must have been playing or
exploring around water somewhere probably.
In his left hand he was carrying a blue plastic
bucket and in his right hand he was carrying a half-
torn net that had a bamboo handle, a few plastic
bags and some other small items.
This was the high season of crayfish in the river clc
Elementary kids that tried hard to catch them could
catch about fifty of them in half a day, only using a
small net and some enthusiasm. It would seem that
this kid was coming back from that particular
crayfish hunting. The dark orange color of the
sunset was reflected on his back. In a different time
of the year it would be dark and the moon would
be out but as of late, it was the sun that was still
It was pleasant that the rainy season was over a
few days ago. The sun heating the asphalt was
making the air grow dense and one could feel the
hot heavy air rising from the ground. The kid was
dressed looking like an elementary school student
but in reality he was a junior in high school. His
fellow classmates wouldn’t be interested in
walking with him to catch crayfish with nets and
buckets. They would much prefer going to the
arcade with plenty of pocket change or going to
comic books stores to catch up on their favorite
releases and check out the new stuff or simply stay
at home playing with their computers and video
games after browsing the specialty stores during
The kids his age have many hobbies and interests
other than hunting for crayfish because they think
that that particular activity is "weird" or
"something little kids do".
He was walking for an hour or so and the fields
were being left behind. Now he was entering the
residential area, night was about to start but it
wasn’t quite dark just yet. The red of the sky was
mixed with dark blue in the horizon which gave a
nostalgic look: a warm and sweet air with a soft
ocean scent wafting over the town.
He turned right on a corner of the road where a
large house with a tall fence was erected first in a
row of average looking houses, fitting the standard
of a small town neighborhood.
But the road didn’t have only houses, there was a
mom and pop's convenience stores with the
vegetables and some produce in carts on the street,
a few coffee shops here and there, a pub, bars and
The boy tried hard not to pay attention to the stores
or the people around it, he kept walking straight
with his chin down, a few blocks up, a park
appeared on his right, it had a seesaw, a sand box,
a big slide and a jungle gym. It even had a
restroom and some food vendors, you could even
organize an improvised match of badminton or
baseball in the field and there were still a group of
loud kids playing at the park when the street lights
started lighting up.
[ 012 ]
There was this woman wearing a long apron and
sandals trying to call the attention of a child that
was playing in that park. It seemed as if she was
trying to tell the child that playtime was over and
that dinner was ready. When our kid arrived there,
he stopped and stood there for a short while.
A white dog suddenly popped his head out from the
azalea trees that were planted around the park and
suddenly he started staring at the boy with a
Opening his lips, he started growling and showing
his teeth to the kid as if trying to find out why the
boy was trespassing in his territory and what were
the contents of that bucket that was making a
particular screeching noise inside of it.
It was obvious that the kid started getting scared of
the dogs behavior, so without thinking it twice,
he swung the net towards the dog and once the dog
retreated, he ran to the other side of the street,
But running across made the dog chase him with
more intensity and eventually caught the kid easily.
Without many options left, the kid swung the net
again, hitting the face of the dog that caught the net
and when the kid tried to pull it out, the fangs
caught the net strongly and it wouldn’t let go.
The net was trapped in the fangs of the dog.
The dog was getting more violent and started
shaking his head more vehemently. Thick-necked,
the dogs power was immense and the skinny kid
was swaying because of it. The fangs started to
change the metal net's shape from a round form to a
more oblong one, it was ruined.
Because the dog was growling, chewing the metal
net continuously and the movement was becoming
more intense, the shaft of the net bumped the dog
square in the chin and that made the situation
worse as the dog became even more furious. His
hair stood on its end and white bubbly saliva
started pouring and falling from the beast jaw.
[ 013 ]
"Hey!! Knock it offl!!"
The same woman that came looking for the child
screamed the dogs name loudly Maybe she was the
owner of the dog, or perhaps her neighbor, but in
either case, calling the dogs name in a high voice
has an adverse reaction to the situation and dogs
get confused thinking that the owner is cheering for
them to neutralize the threat rather than leave it be.
Shaking his head crazily without growling or
biting, the net finally got disentangled from his
Finally free, the dog gave chase to the boy that
started running desperately. Jumping at him, he
tumbled him on the ground and gave a solid bite to
the boy's butt.
The boy's short pants got half slipped and blood
started pouring from his right leg, you could see a
pale and small pair of hips showing up and the bite
wound was uncovered, bleeding profusely.
The bucket fell out of the kid's hands and after the
dog bit him, he started barking at him for a while
and then jumped at the plastic bag to chew
whatever was inside of it. The boy promptly stood
up and pulled away the bag from the dog and
realized it ripped apart.
The curious thing about this encounter with the boy
and the dog was that the boy never cried or
screamed at the horrible wound and pain caused by
the dog. He just stood up, took a hard breath, a
slight groan and tried to recover the bag and the
bucket from the floor but because his pants where
mid waist he lost his balance and fell backwards,
that's when the dog decided to jump and attack him
Stumbling violently, he hit his head on the concrete
and tried desperately to kick the dog away but the
dog caught one of his feet and started biting his feet
under his shoes.
[ 014 ]
In a desperate struggle, he sat down as best as he
could and smacked the dog in an eye with a closed
fist. The dog shook his head and started scratching
his skin with his four limbs. All across the kid's
legs red lines started showing up and the scratches
were so many that it felt that they were made with
a sharp fork.
The kid grabbed the dog by the neck hair and they
both crumpled on the concrete floor. The woman
now started sounding quite desperate in his
screams for the dogs name but a kind neighbor got
out of a house to help the kid. This man was
running with mountain shoes and threw a kick that
caught the dog right in the stomach. With a yelp, the
dog jumped and retreated due to the pain.
Stupid ass mutt!! Get the hell outta here!!
Chasing the limping dog away, he looked at the
"Hey boy, are you alright!?"
He crouched and got close to the kid without
touching him, disinterestedly, the boy sat down for
a few minutes and stayed still. The t-shirt was
completely ripped and various scratches, bumps
and drops of blood were all over the kid. The
wounds on his legs looked especially serious but
he stayed silent.
It was hard to watch how miserable the bloody
wound on his bare hips looked like but even when
the man was trying to help him, once he looked the
man directly in the eyes, the kid stared down and
did nothing but breath heavily and kept silent.
"Where do you live?" the woman asked a useless
question just to show a vague interest in helping
but he didn’t answer to it. The man offered a hand
to him so he could stand up but the kid ignored it.
Instead, he started pulling up his pants while still
sitting in the asphalt, at this point, it felt like the kid
wanted to be rude on purpose, he stood up still
looking at the ground while sweating buckets from
his forehead. He was standing still while a
mysterious cracking noise started coming out from
[ 015 ]
"What is that?" in many a movie about monsters
and serpents we would hear that cracking noise
that would belong to a rattlesnake, but this one was
different, it was weird and with a high pitch.
Because it was getting darker, the sound was
creepier but the bucket was still sitting on the
A bunch of bright red creatures like small lobsters
started crawling out of the bucket but these weren't
twenty or forty of them, there weren't even sixty,
there was more than a hundred of them
At first, the woman and the man had no idea what
those were and the woman gave a soft scream
"Ah! Right, you were catching crayfish, the season
is coming in full swing, I see"
They weren't just "crayfish" They were American
crayfish, the hardest to catch, not that they would
figure that out with a simple glance. The forceps of
those crayfish were removed masterfully but
nonetheless, it was like a creepy spectacle. The
man’s face was in shock once he looked at the side
of the ripped plastic bag. The contents of the bag
were visible and quite startling, it was the ripped
forceps of the crayfish, many of them were still
moving and clapping as if they had life of their
The man asked but looking at the fierce eyes of the
silent boy, still looking down, he said with a
That was his name, he was only fourteen.
[ 016 ]
He was a weird kid, not only in terms of his
personality but his looks were really strange.
His face didn’t even look like that of a kid at all or
even human for that matter. If we might be so bold
to say it, he was sort of "reptilian looking".
Without trying to make fun of him, we can assure
you that looking at him you'd feel the presence of
somebody that really look like a lizard with long
His eyes gave a weird look because they were
tilted a bit as well. His face never shows any sign
of expression at any time and even though his face
looked reptilian, his personality was more mouse¬
like. A very wet and frightened mouse that was too
skinny to face the real world.
Comparing him to other kids his age, he was way
too short and scrawny for his size.
Every time he had to talk to someone, he’d always
look down to the ground, and, if someone tried to
make eye contact with him, his lack of expression
would turn into fear right away.
He would talk, give a quick look and look down
right away, he’d do this with everyone, even with
the adults of his family, more so with the only
parent he had, his mother, especially with his
Yes, he lived only with his mother in this coastal
town that was located about an hour from Tokyo by
train. Living in a humble rented house in a quiet
location, he usually never bothered to know who
his father was, why he left or if he was alive at all.
He never asked and his mother never bothered
telling anyway, it was as if this man never existed
in their lives. They never talked about him nor
were they interested in such a useless topic for
He remembered once asking where his father was,
only to be met with furious eyes and punches from
his irate mother who was inclined to sink herself in
the stupors that alcohol offered rather than deal
with her son’s feelings.
She was drunk all the time and would turn violent
on him quite often, hitting him and kicking him for
reasons that made no sense. She got used to hit him
with closed fists across his face and cheeks. He
wouldn’t avoid them, or cry, or beg her to stop,
he’d let her punch him over and over until her hand
was bleeding and swollen and she passed out until
the next day.
[ 017 ]
His mother's name was Reiko Akuta. Even though
she looked way older due to the constant alcohol
abuse, she was actually thirty four years old. She
gave birth to Kikuchiyo when she was around
twenty years old and she used to be employed
somewhere around the neighboring town.
Nowadays, close to sunset, she would apply flashy
makeup on her face and light a cigarette and take
off to work.
Sometimes she would return at midnight,
sometimes she’d return early in the morning. No
matter how early or late she’d return, she always
stayed up and served breakfast or dinner to
Kikuchiyo. They were together before the boy went
to school. This would happen without fail every
Reiko has the distinction of being younger and
more beautiful than any of the mothers of his
classmates. Often he thought that she’d look even
more beautiful without all that cheap makeup.
"Why would she smudge that beautiful face of
The boy could never understand that particular
habit of women.
Even though Reiko had never mentioned to him
what kind of "employment" she had, he wasn’t
stupid enough to ask, because he already knew it.
He had seen it on television, when women needed
quick sums of money, they resort to one thing.
He figured that his mother got paid to drink, dance
and party with men, entertain them, sometimes in
ways that their own wives wouldn’t. He knew that
these men would turn very generous once she’d
welcome their advances, their hands on her breasts
and her hips.
"Men can't be trusted, they aren't reliable."
His mom used to say every morning after returning
from work reeking of alcohol and complaining
about whatever happened that day to her. She got
even more talkative when Kikuchiyo pretended
with all his might to appear sound asleep, even
though nobody could sleep with the noise she’d
make when she arrived.
"Don’t you dare look down on me, stupid, this is
just a job!!"
"Who cares about men with money!! I wouldn’t
love them for all the money in the world,
they are trash!! They are heartless men!!!"
[ 018 ]
'Damn him!! Oh shit!!
"That asshole!! Getting carried away because I let
him do it once!!"
"Pfift!! we’ll see next time who has the last laugh"
She kept mumbling these words aloud. She did this
while cleaning her face and changing her working
clothes. Then she would pour a cup of hot tea and
make some more noise.
That noise would always startle him and it was
impossible to sleep after she returned home. Trying
his best he pretended to be asleep. When the house
was finally engulfed in silence, she would start
sobbing quietly at first and then she would cry
profusely for a long time.
One time he tried to hug her and console her when s
"I'm crying, you son of a bitch!! because you're
here alive, I wish you'd never been born!!"
Her screams got more intense and gradually more
"I can’t wait for the day that you'll go away, you
should leave right now!!"
After saying that she hugged him harder and cried
"I'm sorry, I didn’t mean it"
She would apologize while still crying and
sobbing, her breath would entangle her words.
"If someday you decide to go away, I will follow
She repeated the same words while hugging him
"Going away? Where?" he had no idea where he
It was confusing his mind to no end. Every kind
word and hurtful word was told seriously, as if she
believed in all of them from the bottom of her
heart. Did she hate him? Love him?
Kicking him from home and following him
afterwards? The concept of "going away" was
vague for him.
Kikuchiyo figured that when he’d be old enough,
he’d move away to a "man’s place" one like that
guy owned when he went to look for his mom at
that place. One where he would live while going to
work and returning home. More often than not, he’d
feel intimidated by her actions but he didn’t hate
her. He hated when she hit him and got drunk and
irrational but he understood that he was simply a
"punching bag" for her problems and frustrations.
She took it out all on him, fighting and hurting that
invisible force that made her miserable and
snatched away her happiness, something that
wasn’t Kikuchiyo at all.
[ 019 ]
He was punished because he was a poor substitute
for the real problem.
But it hurts for real when someone punches you
with bad intentions, no matter how weak or how
loving this person was with you, the pain you have
to bear will be sharp and unforgiving.
It felt worse to see his mother crying and
frustrated, so he bore the pain and the punches
That's why it was so hard to return home while
knowing his mother was there; bleeding and
looking like that after the mad dog incident.
He had scars everywhere, a soft cascade of blood
was pouring from his leg, right where the dog bit
him and his t-shirt was completely torn. The blood
had already clotted over the cut in his left leg.
Kikuchiyo knew how furious his mother was going
to be after she’d see him like that.
He couldn’t help but walk and stand still in front of
the door, for almost half hour. He figured his mom
was out working for the rest of the day so he could
arrive, take a shower and clean himself up.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to be. She was
drunk and home early. Sensing the boy at the door,
she opened it and she got quite the surprise.
"Damn!" he thought "Why is she at home at this
hour!!?" the only day that he needed to be alone to
avoid a conflict was the very day her mom got sour
business and decided to call it a day at an early
hour. Luck wasn’t with him, sometimes she
wouldn’t return until the next morning but
sometimes she’d stay at home drunk for two days
The alcohol breath was the one that hit him first....
"Answer, who did this to you?" the tone of her
voice was severe.
He didn’t answer, he looked at the ground and
What about your j ob?
"swaaatam" a violent slap across his face was the
second thing that hit him...
He felt like hot fire was applied to his cheeks.
"Who did this to you?" she repeated the question,
her voice was unforgiving.
[ 020 ]
Kikuchiyo kept looking at the floor silently when,
violently, the second slap took him off balance.
"Splat!!" "Answer, who did this to you!!?"
his cheeks stopped hurting but they were burning
almost from the inside out.
"BAAM" "Answer!!" SPLAT!! SPLAT!! "Who did
this to you!!?"
It was a pitiful and heartbreaking image, the mother
and son were making a really somber scene.
The son, bleeding and injured was standing there
receiving silently slap after slap while the mom,
rather than attending his wounds at once, decided
to interrogate him with corporal punishment to find
out what happened at once.
But Kikuchiyo wasn't answering, and he got
slapped violently again,
and once again....
and once more....
But looking at how his mother's hand was getting
swollen and fearing she would sustain an injury,
he decided to break his silence and told her the
story of what happened in the park, the fish net and
the mad dog.
"Whose was the fucker or the bitch that owns that
dog!!" she demanded with eyes filled with rage
and launched another slap to keep Kikuchiyo
I have no idea, mom'
"Why not, you little shit!!"
"I just don’t know, Mom."
She took some time to launch a fierce slap with a
After that, puffing and with a real sore hand, she
grabbed him and sat him on the dinner table.
She picked up the first aid kit, a towel and some
water in a bowl and placed them in front of him.
"You might be an idiot, but I'm sure you know how
to take care of yourself, right?"
That alcohol breath gave him the worse slap of the
evening, even the hand slaps weren’t that
But her face wasn’t pale because she was drunk.
Actually, she looked very beautiful with that wild
look and her eyes were bright and moist. They
were giving a strong light, full of kindness and
For a moment, Kikuchiyo heard his mother's
footsteps coming out in the backyard and heard her
perusing something in the back of the house. She
returned almost half an hour later with a strange
package that she tossed on the tatami mat where he
"BAAM" the tatami made a heavy noise.
[ 021 ]
"Openit!!" she demanded.
He quietly got on his knees and started unwrapping
the strange gray package.
The first thing he saw was the eerie light of a metal
It was a small iron ax, sharp and heavy enough to
be handled comfortably.
He slowly glanced at her face as if asking... "What
do I do with..?"
"You are going to slaughter that mad dog tonight!!"
She said this with furious ogre eyes.
"Do not let dogs and men make a fool out of you.
We are all alone, we all have to struggle in this life
by ourselves and nobody will help you when
She was getting over excited while saying these
"Tonight, you are going to kill that mad beast and b
She finished her demands with an intimidating
warning that was more scary than anything she had
"Do not return without the white dog's corpse or
you will not be allowed to live here until you do."
[ 022 ]
The kid, Kikuchiyo left that night around nine
o'clock, but didn’t return until the following night
around midnight. It was an absurd amount of time
but he was back the same way he returned home
the previous night, standing there until his mom
could sense that he was there. When she noticed
that he was there he was silent, looking down.
How long has he been there?
Tumbling around, she stood up to open the door,
nothing really had changed from the previous night.
The towel, the water bowl and the medicine box
were exactly in the place he had left them, even the
paper that was used to wrap the ax was in the same
There were two empty bottles of whiskey on top of
the table that was visible from the entrance.
That was the only thing that was different from the
previous night, even her clothes were still the
[ 023 ]
She had been waiting for him, drinking whiskey
without sleeping or going to work.
When he returned, he was carrying a big black plas
His t-shirt was even more ripped and bloody, after
these two nights, it would become unusable.
'Did you kill it?" Reiko demanded an answer.
Without the smallest of facial expressions,
Kikuchiyo slowly nodded.
"Show me, I want to see it!!" Walking hastily to
the doors, she almost tripped on her sandals.
The edge of the plastic bag was filled with some
liquid and it was there, hanging out swollen.
Giving a simple look, she told him,
"Don't open it yet!! Take it out to the garden."
Both of them went out to the garden. In reality the
space was too tiny to be called a garden, but it was
available for them so that's what they called it, The
metal fence was as high as his shoulders and it
surrounded the house completely. In the small
space between the house and the fence two
shadows were moving, illuminated sometimes by a
small lamp post. There was enough cover for them
to carry on their ghastly business.
Kikuchiyo placed the bag upside down and opened
it. The sound of liquid pouring on the soft grass
invaded the quiet night, as a river of dark water
found it's way to the ground.
Spatters of dark water splattered onto his tiny legs,
but this wasn't dark water...
It was blood.
[ 025 ]
An overwhelming stench of blood filled the air.
After the blood poured from the bag, the bloody ax
followed, falling into the deep pool of blood. It
was still shining. Like something grotesque coming
out from an empty shell, a heavy lump slided from
the plastic bag, It was the lifeless head of that Mad
white dog. It's tongue was hanging vertically to the
ground and blood was dropping from the tip, it
was a sinister sight and the stench was unbearable.
Kikuchiyo shook the bag some more and the full
body of the dog fell into the pool of blood. The ax
and head, making a heavy splash and a ghastly
sound. Any normal human being would have
thrown up by the sight and smell already.
But this was the beast that attacked the boy
mercilessly and unprovoked.
"This is the one, Mom, I waited in the park until it
came out with his owner'
"So this was the fucking dog that had the nerve to
mess with us?"
The small lamp made Reiko's eyes shine with the
tears that were about to flow.
The dog’s head was open and something thick, red
and gooey was corning out of it. Reiko squatted
close to the body, grabbed the fur and moved it to
retrieve the ax from underneath. Holding it with
her right hand, she felt it was slippery, so she put
the ax down and wiped the blood from her hand on
the white fur that wasn't soiled with blood, feeling
a better grip. She held the ax once again and stared
at the head with contempt, looking at the sharp
fangs that once hurt her son. She was the only one
in the world that was allowed to hurt her son but
her attacks were done with love. This beast or any
other beast, human or otherwise that dared to hurt
her or her own would share this fate.
I won’t be fooled!!
She cocked the ax as high as she could, she was
way too skinny to be holding the ax, but her wrath
ignored the lack of power and making her shake all
over, even the arm holding the ax, the beautiful
face of Reiko Akuta turned into something evil and
She struck down the ax while screaming loudly, the
heavy edge struck the jaws of the dog, moving them
out of place and making a "kchak" sound, cutting
muscle and tendons.
The ax was lifted again...
She struck it down again...
[ 026 ]
'We are all alone!!" she screamed.
She struck it down again and this time, there was a
bone-cracking sound: the edge has finally reached
the bone. She kept striking it down incessantly until
the jaws broke down from the head and something
white flew and hit her cheeks. It was a piece of
bone, but not just any bone, it was a big fang.
The same fang that bit Kikuchiyo and made him
bleed. She destroyed it completely.
With lips raised upwards, eyes opening wide and
forming a diabolic smile full of spattered blood,
That beautiful face was now nothing more than a
She screamed for violence and jumped violently at
the maimed face to finish it until there was nothing
else to hack the ax into, Head pieces exploding all
around a bloody pool, there was no reason, no
common sense in it. Humanity had disappeared
from the kind woman.
While in the hacking frenzy, she wondered how
long she and her son would have to stand these
ridiculous situations of abusive people and
creatures that were owned by them, placing all the
resentment and the fury for men and society itself
in each swing and hack of the ax.
It was a violent scene, as if a demon living inside
Reiko had no other way to escape or express
its feelings but possessing a poor crying woman
and making her commit these atrocities.
Kikuchiyo loved this tearful woman, but didn’t like
it when she turned violent like this.
He silently stood still looking down at her. He
would endure whatever pain, insult or tribulation
she could inflict on him, still. He never clearly
understood the "going away" thing.
[ 027 ]
~ ACT 4
It was a pleasant summer break but Kikuchiyo
couldn’t find a place interesting enough to hang out
this time of year. The coastal town was beautiful
and there were tourists and visitors everywhere,
tons of kids of all ages playing around and it would
only take him a fifteen minute walk to reach the
coolest spot to swim an the beach. So many fun
things to do and enjoy, but there wasn’t a single
person either on the beach or downtown that was
his friend. He knew most of the local kids and the
places they'd hang out, but none wanted to go with
him to the river or to the sea.
[ 028 ]
He had a hard time speaking to people. He rarely
talked to his classmates unless he was required to
and because of this, he had no friends.
In elementary school, one of the kids had made a
stupid joke that his name sounded like a girls and it
had stuck. Even today he was still being teased for
that. Since he was most of the time alone at night,
he watched as much television as he pleased.
There was nobody there to scold him or tell him
what to watch. He didn’t have to worry about the
squabbles of Japanese families about what they
wanted to watch, the television was his alone and
he never missed any of his favorite shows.
He knew everything about all the anime series,
concerts, idol shows and movies his classmates
liked to talk about at school. When they would talk,
he overheard conversations and knew that there
was a lot that they missed and he had watched.
Sometimes he was the only one that had watched.
Knowing more than the rest was his pride but there
never was an opportune moment to talk about it.
He always missed the chance due to his soft voice.
All he could mutter was the name of the show or
his favorite Idol and everyone ignored him and
moved on, After he talked about his favorite shows
and singers, his turn to speak was over.
He couldn’t express very well why he liked some
artists in comparison to other idols or elaborate
more about why this show would be better than
that other show another kid liked, or spread
gossips about what was coming up in the popular
TV programs. He failed something as easy as that,
communication always betrayed him.
His classmates cared little about him or his
He could feel that he froze the happy atmosphere of
the group every time he opened his mouth to talk.
That was something that annoyed him to no end, he
wanted to laugh and talk and have friends. But
lately it was something that crushed his optimism,
so he felt happier thinking that it would be easier
not to talk to them instead. This worked at school
but during the summer break, it was hard for his
soul to see the same classmates hanging out,
playing, talking and openly ignoring him when
summer was in full swing. Furthermore, it would
be really unpleasant and rude for him to not say
anything to them when they were swimming in the
sea or enjoying a day in the river. Even if he said
"hi!" he’d have to keep talking, it would even
appear that he was stalking them, even though, this
was a tiny coastal town with a few places to have
The only options available would be for him to sw
[ 029 ]
He knew his classmates thought he was weird and
needed some serious help.
"It’s so hard being around him" they would say
openly, without making an effort to integrate him to
the group. Some guys started spreading rumors that
he was mentally challenged and just a plain idiot.
There was nothing wrong about him but he felt
everything was wrong at all times, especially
coming across groups of girls, he would hear small
giggles and hidden looks. He knew they were
talking about him, inventing stories, believing
rumors and who knows what else.
To stop this destructive pattern, he would avoid the
places they would be hanging out at in summer,
hang out at places where nobody would know who
he was or wondering what he was doing there.
A place where no kids that knew him would go?
The answer was stupidly simple.
"I'll hang out at school"
If he stayed at home, he’d have to hang out with his
mother for half a day and tolerate her quirks and
mood swings but there was a place that the kids
would avoid like the plague. It worked just great
because it was a beautiful location.
Isogahara Junior High school was located right
around the coast, a great place to swim at with
little to no people hanging out, he’d be swimming
alone without nobody annoying him. After
swimming, there was a forest of pine trees not that
far from there that he visited and would spend half
a day lying down under the shade and breathing
that sweet air.
That was his secret hideout to spend his last
summer week in good spirits.
Something he loved doing in the forest was to
catch all sorts of insects, there were so many.
He got excited just thinking about it, he found
oriental long headed locusts, tetrigidae, lady bugs,
praying mantis, damselflies, long horned
grasshoppers, and various unknown leaf insects.
There were so many little insects under the trees
that he spent hours catching them and the number
of bugs never decreased no matter how many he
squashed or chased, or played with.
He would always find so many in the same place
he caught them as the previous day.
The insects were everywhere as if these maggots
grew underneath the grass.
Everyday he’d spend two hours catching cool
looking bugs, but not to take them home as pets as
kids usually do. No, he would look at them for a
minute struggling and then, one by one, he’d start
ripping out their legs, until there were no more
legs, wings or antennae left.
[ 030 ]
He always saved crushing the head for last, no
insect was to survive his hand grip.
He did this for the small and thin bugs, but his
favorite ones to crush were the praying mantis
and grasshoppers, he enjoyed pulling their heads
off after all their legs were gone. They came our
easily after all the white stuff was wiped out.
Strong and stinky grass fumes would stick to his
nose and would also reek of dead insect blood but
he made a discovery that woke a strange feeling
After ripping the wings, legs, antennae, the praying
mantis was the only one that was still alive. After
its head was ripped open, looking like a mere
green stick, it would do a weird dance on his palm
for a few seconds. He knew it was something cruel
and perverse but he felt that he was watching an
indecent show just meant for him, watching how a
life that was robbed of legs, wings, head and
simply looking like a green stick would still carry
a hopeless fight for survival.
That made him feel awful, but also, he felt a
strange excitement about it, his crotch was hot and
stiff and lifted hard, he felt good about being
He'll still remember that day....
Kikuchiyo arrived really late at the school yard
that day. The guys from the sports clubs were gone
for the day and it was almost sunset, but somehow
he was still there.
He was waiting for someone, there was a girl that
he was waiting to meet.
Her name was Naoko Izawa, a sophomore that was
attending class B. They didn’t arrange this meeting
previously, he just saw her entering the school
building because she was a member of the library
committee. The students at Isogahara junior high
were allowed to check out books twice a week
during their summer break. Every week, two
members of the library committee would come at 1
pm and would stay a few hours until the other
members arrived, they had about twenty members
and they took turns to keep the library running
That day was Noriko's turn to work in the library
and he was waiting for her to end her shift and
come out of the library to talk to her. He had nice
conversations with her a few times and she took
the time to listen without making him feel weird.
This girl was about 5’ 6 ft. which it was pretty tall
for a junior high school kid but her intelligence
gave her an aura that made her more beautiful than
she already was. Her dark straight hair fell around
her shoulders, her nose, very cute and shapely,
made her delicate face match with her wide eyes.
Her lips, without lipstick, were very soft and gave
her a mature look.
There was a subtle innocence in her looks but her
body was well developed for her age.
She was pretty smart but not the outgoing, overly
talkative type. She wouldn’t raise her hand to
answer teacher's questions but she was capable of
giving assertive answers when asked in class.
She was also a bit eccentric and didn't talk to
Kikuchiyo's classmates, but for different reasons
than him. A few kids tried to ask her out on dates
and talk to her but she would always cut the
conversation short and while hanging out with her
circle of friends, she would feel detached of the
conversation no matter how hard they tried to
For her, Kikuchiyo wasn't "the weird creature" that
everyone gossiped about, he was just
another kid in school like all the others and it made
him feel relieved that he can interact with her
He saw her during class and she would smile when
they eyes meet, that made him feel a sweet warmth
in his chest and his heartbeat started speeding up.
Noriko was in the school now, he was planning of
seeing her walking home and going to his own
home afterwards. It was a few minutes before
sunset when she came out from the building.
she wasn't alone. She was walking with Seto,
another committee member.
[ 032 ]
Kikuchiyo felt that his body's temperature started
rising out of control. For how many hours were
they talking alone in the library? A river of black
fire started running within his veins. It was
unmistakably the dark flame of jealously but that
didn't force an expression on his face either.
The only thing he felt in his face was that his lips
stiffened as if he was swallowing a heavy metallic
He wasn't going to announce himself being there
but he felt this guy at her side betrayed his own
Kikuchiyo kept his distance and waited until both
of them went out the gate and turned the corner a
block from the school. He started walking as if he
was going somewhere close, but in reality
he was following them.
He wasn't wearing his usual short pants today, he
was wearing a pair of comfy jeans and a blue
checked short-sleeved shirt. Curiously he was also
carrying two carton boxes in his arms and dry
noises were corning out from the carton boxes.
The street around the corner led to a path along the
beach and a little further, the pine trees followed.
The street was full of pine trees but you still could
see the sea between the sparse branches of the
He was walking down the street looking at the
gorgeous scenery of the sea on his left.
The scent of pine trees and salty sea breeze tickled
his nose. He could see a few people fishing on the
pier. Nobody was swimming at this hour but there
was an old gentleman walking his dog and some
couples sitting down or walking and holding hands
while looking at the sea.
The reflection of the afterglow from the sunset was
painting the waves, changing them with different
colors. One could believe that the waves were
reflecting every color around them, the green of the
pine trees, the blue, dark blue and orange of the
sky, the white of the sand, the color of the houses,
the t-shirt of the little kid running along the beach,
the ships at sea, a very nostalgic palette of summer.
[ 033 ]
All these colors dissolved inside the waves and
combined with the tide to be ultimately washed out
to the open sea. Many students frequented this
particular street when school was in session, so it
would not arise any suspicions if the couple were
to spot him, so he kept walking naturally.
Suddenly, a tall man passed Kikuchiyo from
behind. He was wearing a sweatshirt, he was
jogging but his pace was fast and frenetic. He
quickly passed Noriko and Seto that were walking
about 65 feet from Kikuchiyo. The man captured
his attention because he was running barefoot and
you could see his feet darkened by the mud. What
kind of man would run like that?
Someone yelled at him while he was looking at the
It was a raspy voice. Maybe it wasn’t for him, but
he turned around anyway.
He knew that guy: he was Takashi Shimamura, his
fellow classmate. He was standing along three
other guys. He noticed two more classmates of his,
Kenji Shimizu and Ryoichi Kato, that were
enrolled in class C. He had no idea who the other
guy was, but he was burly and taller than his
classmates. Maybe that guy was in high school.
"Hey Kiku...!!" Shimamura was calling him and
He was wearing white pants and a green t-shirt that
was wide open in the front. He had dyed his hair
bright blond while it was black before the summer
began. He also grew a very thin beard under his
"What the fuck are you doing here!!?"
Shimamura lifted his shoulders a bit, he was
menacing as usual.
Kikuchiyo didn’t answer.
[ 034 ]
Looking down, Kikuchiyo kept his silence.
"You fucker!! You were following Noriko too,
Shimamura smirked and let his gum show.
Without changing his stance, Kikuchiyo didn’t
mutter a sound.
The accusation was baseless since this was the
direction that Kikuchiyo took everyday to return
home. It would have taken him ten minutes walking
and turning two more blocks to get home.
He had taken a different street, even though he couh
"Huh!! Say something?" he gave a small push to
Kikuchiyo. The silence was annoying him.
Shimamura was famous in Isogahara junior high
school for being a notorious troublemaker and he
seldom went to class. He had never been arrested
but he had attacked and punched teachers many
One time he ambushed a teacher outside school
with his two friends because he was scolded for
smoking in class. The three of them punched him
hard but they never got in trouble for it.
His friends obviously were Shimizu and Kato,
everyone knew it was them but nobody said a
These three were the kind of people that would
have an explosive and overbearing attitude if
someone scolded them or said something that they
They would be ruthless and wouldn’t hesitate in
punching anybody. Nobody could stop them once
they started attacking and they would aim at your
nose to let you bleed on purpose so everyone could
see that they did that to you. Kikuchiyo had been
punched by Shimamura before without reason.
This time, he had demanded an answer and since
he didn’t get it, Shimamura got furious and punched
Kikuchiyo, sending him to the ground.
There are people in this life that get picked on by
abusive people by nature.
Unfortunately, Kikuchiyo was one of them. He had
a natural ability to draw violent tendencies from
naturally oppressive and arrogant individuals just
by being near them. This held true for people like
Shimamura. The more Kikuchiyo got frightened by
Shimamura, the more angry Shimamura would get
as if a dark beast within him got poked by a stick
after biding its time to come out and explode on
him. However, Shimamura didn’t pick on him as
often as before. But it wasn’t because Shimamura
got bored or became a kinder person, but because
he didn’t come to school as often.
"So, why is he today on this street asking me these
"I saw you Kiku!! You were waiting for Noriko
outside the school. You were on the move as soon
as she started walking away"
" An swer me, asshole!!"
He biffed Kikuchiyo on the shoulder, his voice was
becoming more furious.
"They saw me..." Kikuchiyo thought to himself but £
"They were watching me....they watched my every
He started obsessing with these thoughts.
"These four guys were observing me for a while,
they saw everything I did."
"You knew Noriko's day in the library was today,
Kato mentioned this standing behind Shimamura.
Just like Shimamura, Kato was wearing a pair of
baggy white pants and a dark t-shirt.
He didn’t dye his hair like Shimamura but he was
bulkier and more intimidating than him
What Kato said sent a chill into Kikuchiyo's spine.
"Does this means that they were waiting for
It didn’t take long for him to figure out the sinister
plan that these four were going to carry out.
What a brash babe...
Kikuchiyo remembered that Shimamura said
something like this when Noriko ignored his
"I'm going to make her cry and scream from
pleasure someday". He also remember that he said
"That someday must be today!!”
There wasn't that many people on the street and the
sun had just disappeared behind the mountain.
It was getting dark fast. There was little light away
from the pine trees but it was dark in the forest.
The burly guy standing behind them, suddenly
broke his silence with a deep voice.
Shimamura ordered Shimizu and Kato to hurry and
get them. They started running to catch Noriko and
Seto that were away almost 160 feet from them
"Got you fooled but she does dirty things with that
Shimamura gave a glance to Kikuchiyo as if he
was laughing at his naivety.
"She's just a fucking slut, you know?"
He said this loudly with a cynical tone of voice,
but Kikuchiyo didn’t understand what he meant by
it, but he felt horrified when he heard what he said
"She takes money from middle age men and she
lets them stick it in, the whore..."
Shimamura was nodding as if he had the higher
moral ground and then turned to talk to a very
“Is that right, Mr. Kuromuna?”
[ 037 ]
"Yeah, that's right..." the man named Kuromuna
nodded. He looked like a sleazy yakuza even
though he was going in high school.
"She looks down on us as if we were trash but
what she does is dirtier than us"
Shimamura grabbed Kikuchiyo's shoulder, turned
him around and pushed him hard,
he was very strong.
"Walk!!" he ordered him with a strong tone.
This road was leading them to a densely forested
area. If they kept walking where the forest met the
sea, there would be a secluded area that people
never walked around there.
I'm gonna show you her pleasure screams
Shimamura said, smiling.
He kept pushing Kikuchiyo's back until they
started walking. Kato and Shimizu were walking
towards them. Noriko was corning along between
them but mysteriously Seto wasn’t there.
"Where is Seto?" Shimamura asked them.
"As soon as I told him I needed to have a private
word with Noriko, he remembered that he had an
important appointment and left in a hurry." Kato
started laughing at how easy it was to snatch her.
Kikuchiyo knew that Noriko was looking at him
surprised but he kept looking down. He didn’t want
to look at her.
"Shimamura Senpai, what do you want? It’s quite
He heard Noriko saying with a tense voice but she
"I need you to walk over there with me. Babe, just
for a little while"
"If you have something to say, say it here, I won’t
go anywhere else" Her tone was serious.
As soon as she finished saying that, there was a
Shimamura slapped her violently. When she fell on
her knees, Kato and Shimizu picked her up and
carried her holding her arms and took her to the
pine tree forest. At the same time, Shimamura was
pushing Kikuchiyo into that dark forest too,
[ 038 ]
The ground was a combination of dirt mixed with
sand and the terrain was so rugged that if you were
to make a big hole there, you’d find even more sand
there. It would be very hard to run away from
"Why is Kikuchiyo Akuta-kun here with you,
guys?” She couldn’t understand why a soft and
polite boy would be hanging out with those
delinquents, but he was the only one that could side
with her and help her out.
"Hey, idiot!! She asked you a question, answer!!"
Kikuchiyo was biting his lip softly while holding fi
"You haven’t say a damn word since I found you,
are you retarded!?"
A vicious punch caught him right in the cheek and
in the nose. He felt the flash of the impact, the
intense heat next and pain, in turn, followed.
Pain...and the warm liquid from the back of the
nose to the mouth came at the same time. Kikuchiyo
knew that metallic taste pretty well. It was blood,
his own blood started flow in a stream between his
nose and his tightly sealed lips, he didn’t mutter a
sound or a groan.
Shimamura finally paid attention at the boxes that
Kikuchiyo were holding.
"Show me what do you have in the boxes!!"
He tried to take those boxes from his hands
[ 039 ]
Kikuchiyo wasn’t letting go.
"Let it go, fool!!"
He was punched in the stomach this time. His
skinny body bent like a broken dogleg but he still
was holding the boxes in his hands for dear life.
"This is bullshit, gimme that!!"
Kuromuna took Kikuchiyo’s skinny right arm with
his thick fingers and quickly started twisting it.
He must have felt intense pain but he held the box
with all his might for a while but the box
eventually started breaking because he was holding
it so hard. There was a small scratching noise from
inside the box that was echoing inside the thick
"Mr. Kuromuna is pretty pissed off because
someone killed his dog recently, so, for your own
good, Kiku, let it go" When Shimamura said that,
Kikuchiyo finally let his right hand go.
When Kuromuna grabbed and opened the box to
see what the kid was defending so vehemently,
He could see the contents with the natural light of r
There were so many little things wiggling around
the carton box:praying mantis, grasshoppers,
dragon flies, and lady bugs that had no head or
legs. Hundreds of them rubbed against each other
or against the paper to make more noise.
“What the fuck is this!?” Kuromuna tossed the box
After it landed, he went and kicked it and stepped
on it over and over again.
Shimamura opened the second carton box and
found the legs, heads, wings and antennae of the
bugs from the other box. Disgusted, he tossed the
box onto the ground.
"Are you crazy!!?"
Kikuchiyo didn’t make a sound or an expression, he
kept looking at the ground.
[ 040 ]
It seemed that something eerie slowly came out
from Kikuchiyo's body. It was inexplicable but
something very alike to miasma was engulfing
Noriko, that was seized by Kato and Shimizu at the
moment none of them couldn’t see the contents of
"Hey! What was it!? What was inside the boxes?"
both of them were asking.
“Dead bugs. He ripped their legs off and put them ii
"You creepy fucker!!" He punched Kikuchiyo
repeatedly until he fell on the floor.
Right at that moment, there were sounds of running
steps in the forest coming close from where they
"Help me!! Please Help!!" Noriko screamed at the
top of her lungs.
The sound of steps running stopped and instead, the
sound of someone approaching them started to feel
closer. The voice of a man could be heard from a
"Is there something the matter, miss?"
"Heeereeee!! P1eeeem...hmrmn, hmmm" Shimamura
struggled to keep her quiet covering her mouth. He
hadn’t expected her be so talented at screaming and
nobody really knew she could be that loud.
The sound of the man approaching got frantic and
finally his figure appeared.
It was him...."77?e impressive tall man wearing the
"You lot!! What do you think you're doing!!?"
He thundered out with a strong voice, a voice so str
"Just keep walking along, old man. This is none of
your business" Shimamura tried to sound
"Tall words for such a stuck-up brat"
"Did you just call me a brat, asshole!!?
"You have no fucking clue who you’re messing
with, huh!? You’re gonna regret it"
Shimamura took something out of his pocket that
made a metal clicking sound and a blade popped
out of it. He was holding a knife.
The man kept looking at him, unimpressed at the
"Kid, you’re going to get hurt if you play with
pointy things in the darkness."
The man said in a relaxed tone of voice. To be
honest, he didn’t feel the least intimidated by all
these kids surrounding him.
Shimamura's face turned red and his temper was
"You really want to push your luck here, don't
Trying to show that he was being serious, he
started juggling with the knife, moving it from right
to left but it had the opposite effect on the man.
''Hmm, hmm, come on, kid. "
The man looked slightly amused.
Shimamura hesitated. Used to the situation in
which he’d take advantage of people's fears once
he took the knife out, this was the first time when
the target was actually laughing at him Worse still,
he had never been in a serious knife fight before,
he had no idea how this would play out but his
anger took the best of him.
The man remained calm Consumed by rage,
Shimamura decided to dash and stab him Handling
the knife in his right hand, he made a rush move
towards the man in the sweatshirt, launching a
The man swiftly stepped back with his left foot,
leaning back his upper body, he avoided the stab,
making Shimamura’s body wobble.
The man lifted his left leg like a vaulting bamboo
pole that sprung too fast. Catching Shimamura's
wrist with his toe, the knife flew towards the pine
trees and fell on the sand, hardly making a sound.
"So, you play Karate, Huh!?"
Shimamura tried to sound cool, hiding the fact that
his wrist hurt like hell. He was holding it with his
"Sure, every once in a while" the man said with a
grin. He wasn't agitated at all, in fact, he didn’t
even considered it a serious training match, much
less a dangerous situation.
In contrast, the group of kids were totally
intimidated by him. Had they started some trouble,
they knew that they were in for a painful
"Shit, let's go" Kuromuna said with a frustrated
voice and spat on the sand.
Giving a piercing look at the man, Kikuchiyo and
Noriko, he clucked and started walking away.
"Mr. Kuromuna!! Wait!!" Shimamura yelled and
started running after him, Kato and Shimizu quickly
Kikuchiyo couldn’t believe his eyes. He kept
looking at the man with a stunned face. That move
kept playing in his mind over and over again. It
was beautiful, it was unreal. The powerful and
swift movement was not something he’d forget for
a long time.
He wanted to say something, but his mouth
betrayed him Only opening it half way, he just
breathed without saying anything.
In turn, the man gave a big smile to both of them
"I’ll see you around, friends." said the man with a
"Thank you very much, sir..."
Noriko said to the man, but when she finished the
sentence, the man was gone.
He left as fast as when he came to help them.
The room was ample and had a wooden floor from
end to end. Actually, it was as big as a house but it
was a single room. All covered with a wooden
floor, it was a very spacious room.
This wasn’t a regular room either, instead of a roof,
it had an open glass ceiling. Instead of aluminum
windows, it had glass windows framed in the
wooden walls. Brass locks were built on the
windows to be open and closed from the inside.
This was a very old building, but it was sturdy.
In the main wall, it had an ink brushed sign that saic
The construction used good and sturdy wood
materials to make it withstand the effects of
weather and time. If you were to visit, you would
think it was a humble community hall.
Every morning, the sun landed its strongest shine
on this wooden floor. Cherry blossom petals
carried by the wind would be scattered around it.
The beautiful patch of light would be reflected in
That morning, every window in the room was
open. A good looking man in his mid twenties was
standing there in his Karate uniform in the center of
the wooden floor.
At first, he was standing, but slowly, he knelt down
At a glance, it seemed that it was a kind of rehearse
But this wasn’t a dance, it was far more deadly
He was practicing a rare form of "Ch’in Tai-chi"
This was the Rokka style.
One of the most ancient styles of Ch’in Tai-chi that
exist today, compared with practicing the
aggressive styles of Karate, he was required to
kneel even lower and slow down his movements to
achieve the perfect form of the move. To the
uninitiated, this would send jolts of pain to his
muscles, but his performance was sharp and
focused. With a single finger he could cut the
darkness with a string of light.
Suddenly, the man movements became as fast as a fl
Taijiquan, Tai-chi for short, is a form of Chinese
martial arts that was born and developed in
Chinkako, a rural area of the Henan province
around the 18th century.
Ch’in style had spread around the world and is
very popular in Japan as a healthy way to maintain
your muscle strength, stamina and overall fitness
even when reaching your senior years.
Tai-chi could be seen as just an exercise that
emulates Kung-fu in a non violent way depending
on the style. The one that we were observing was
the recently introduced "Yoh Version" derived
from the original "Ch’in style" that aims to defeat
an opponent quickly and aggressively in hand-to-
The man beautifully slowed the pace of his electric
assaults and softly, as if ending a musical piece,
dissolved the melody into the air and gave a
solemn ending to his training performance.
The sound of a single person applauding was heard
in the training room.
A grizzled man was sitting cross-legged across the
room. Maybe in his mid thirties, about ten years
older than the man in Karate uniform performing
the Tai-chi routine, but nonetheless he still had a
young look for his years. Wearing a pair of washed
out jeans and a green peppermint T-shirt, his
tanned face could tell us that he enjoyed the
outdoors a lot. With a loud laugh, he started
clapping and showing a wide smile that brighten
the mood of the room
"Hah! hah! hah!! That was great!!"
"What do you think of it, did I pull it off?" The man
in the Karate uniform asked eagerly.
"You did great, Toshio."
"I practiced it for an hour everyday just as you
instructed me, master Hikoroku."
"Once you get comfortable with the Karate drills
and Kata, it is hard to master the basics of Chinese
martial arts, especially when you already mastered
and perfected Karate. You’d feel thrown out of the
loop once you start practicing this. But it seems
that's not the case here since you pulled it off
Hikoroku's tone was friendly and reassuring, being
the caliber of fighter that he was. He was a man
that you should pay attention to when he spoke
Yes, His name was Hikoroku Hashiba, sharing a
few words of knowledge to his good friend and
pupil Toshio Narumi.
"Now you tell me, Toshio, what was your
impression of it?"
"I have to recognize that the flow is very similar to
advanced Karate but this thing works muscles that I
didn’t have to use before."
Hmm, right...but...maybe you noticed something
else?" Hikoroku hinted as if he was looking for a
"Well, if I think of it in a way..." Narumi hesitated
for a second.
"You can say it, it's okay, It seems that you are
holding back some words there."
"Hey, don’t worry Toshio, Nobody else besides
you and me can pull off the complete form of this
ancient style so, you are not going to fight it or
defend against it anytime soon."
"So, Tell me..."
"It’s designed to kill people." Narumi responded
What? To kill people?
"What I mean is that the Yoh-Rokka version of
Ch’in Tai-chi was created specifically to lay waste
to your opponent in a fight. He's not going to walk
out alive after first contact."
"Of course, what else did you think Tai-chi was
"I just realized that. I thought Tai-chi was for..."
Narumi realized how naive he was and stopped
"A gentle exercise to maintain health and fitness
until old age and not to be used in actual combat.
That's what you thought of it, correct?"
[ 047 ]
"I'm not too happy with the idea of teaching housew
"Many people that practice traditional Chinese mar
"I have to say only half of that is actually true."
"In fact, some people think is not appropriate to
promote the practice of Tai-chi in Japan." Narumi
remembered a few comments he heard a while ago.
"That’s understandable, due to the cultural
"Basically, Karate and Tai-chi are the same. Both
were basic Martial art styles developed in
different countries with the same goal in mind. In a
broad sense, we can say that Karate is part of the
Chinese branch of martial arts styles that was
simply developed abroad, but keeping its roots and
spirit of its original birthplace. Since the goal is
the same, you should explore both and find what
fits you best."
"I was thinking the same..."
"The way I see it, Karate is the style that fits you
"Yes, that's what I thought..."
"Grab as much as you can from Tai-chi and bring it
back to your Karate. In the end, because of all the
different personalities, character and physical
abilities, people end up making their own style
when true fighting is required."
"Master Hikoroku, what kind of style do you
"Uggh, That’s a hard question for me. You see, I
have my own style but I haven’t really mastered
anything yet. Because of my curious personality, I
pick things from here and there around the world.
You could say I'm "a womanizer of martial arts" I
love all and everything that has to do with true
"Hahaha, you don't need to master anything,
everything you do comes out perfect, you are a
"You think so? I’m not so sure about that..."
Hikoroku scratched his head, flustered a bit for that
remark. It made him feel a little weird.
"Would you have a friendly match with me, Master
Hikoroku?" Narumi said, excited.
"Really? With you?"
"Yes, I want to experience how "true fighting" feels
with you, I always wanted to do that.
"How it feels with me...?"
"Be aware, Toshio, that I won't be holding anything
back, friendly match or not."
Hikoroku said with a more serious tone in his
voice, Implying that this might be, indeed,
a real fighting match.
"I don’t mind at all" Narumi nodded nervously.
"Not holding back" In Hikoroku's perspective
didn’t mean he was going for lethal contact but
rather that he was going to use full contact punches
and kicks on his opponent’s body, twists and grabs
that might cause intense pain and perhaps a few
sprains or broken bones. Usually, Karate sparring
uses the rule of "sundome" or stopping before the
strike hits its intended target.
Karate fighters usually do not like the "sundome ru
But nonetheless, to effectively train in Karate ever
"The Burinkan school" style of Karate where
Toshio Narumi belongs to, it is known for having
radical rules and it's an unusual branch in the
Karate scene of Japan. It uses the full contact style
but they also allow strikes to the face, with
particular focus on how to deal with such attacks.
Narumi is used to dealing with this kind of
"Aren't you going to get in trouble with the branch
chief for fighting with a person that practices a
different style? Hikoroku said with a smirk on his
"Well, he's not going to know about it if you don’t
tell him, right? He's your friend after all."
"That’s true, but still..." Hikoroku's smile turned
It would come as a surprise to you, as seeing him
sitting down didn't give it away, that once he stood
up, you could see he was impressively tall and a
bit skinny. His T-shirt was sort of baggy near his
stomach but not because he wasn't fat enough or
because he was really skinny, but because his
musculature was tightly built underneath it.
His neck was pretty thick if you took a good look
in front of him.
"Aren't you going to change?" Narumi asked.
The T-shirt was loose enough, but his tight jeans
would limit his movements considerably when
launching kicks as it is hard to raise your legs that
"I've got a few extra uniforms in the back if you
feel like using them" Narumi offered Hikoroku.
"Naah, it's okay, I'm fine like this."
Hikoroku's face suddenly turned from relaxed to
serious, standing with his legs slightly apart from
each other. He let his arms fall side to side in a
relaxed way, it was an unorthodox stance but you
couldn’t tell what he could do next. He was
The change in Hikoroku's attitude puzzled Narumi
for a bit and he also started getting ready to face
"Well, we can start the fight now, I guess?" Narumi
"It has already started..." Hikoroku said in a low
Their eyes started glowing with an intense light.
Narumi started moving around, showing his
footwork. But this wasn't Karate, it was more of
the footwork he uses when he's boxing. His fists
were slightly opened, raising his right fist in the
upper position while placing his left fist in the
lower position. Narumi kept the rhythm of his feet
with his elbows and started circling Hikoroku
looking for an opening for his initial attack.
But Hikoroku's stance didn’t give anything away.
He was simply looking at Narumi moving, without
showing any particular fighting stance. When
Narumi moved behind Hikoroku, he got closer to
him, but in a flash, Hikoroku’s body was facing
"Heyyaah!!" Narumi screamed while getting
closer, but he didn’t launch any attacks.
Knowing that Hikoroku didn’t fall for the bluff, he
promptly backed olf.
That's when Hikoroku dashed towards Narumi
with twice the speed that Narumi was retreating.
[ 050 ]
It was a move that was impossible to predict.
Their distance got even closer with the dash.
Trying to stop Hikoroku's dash, Narumi launched a
strong high kick with his right leg that came from
behind his back. It was an intense flash as if a
sharp sword sliced the air around.
But his toes only kicked air.
Hikoroku had already lowered his body quite
swiftly. Narumi after kicking, quickly got back to
his original position. In that brief moment,
Hikoroku sprung and lifted his body closer to
Feeling a chill like a thunder through his spine,
Narumi launched two elbow attacks consecutively
left and right, He was sure that he was going to
land at least one attack on Hikoroku’s face, but
neither of these elbows landed. As if trying to hit a
ghost, both elbows cut the air in front of him but
Hikoroku’s face was still dangerously close to his
own. That's when he smiled to Narumi, incredibly
But It wasn't the smile that rocked him, Narumi's
body flew across the hall when Hikoroku caught
him right square in his chest with some sort of
attack that he missed completely.
"Brrwang" A loud sound. He landed over some
training gear and was unable to move or even
It was as if someone had taken all the air from his
lungs by force and refused to give him more.
Desperately gasping for air while still on his back,
he saw Hikoroku getting close to him slowly.
"W-what was that...?"
"That...my friend.... is the Hakkesho ."
"I told you about it the other time, it came from one
of the ancient styles from the Chinese martial arts
branch. It has been mostly unknown and almost
"I...I couldn’t even touch you...." Narumi was still
having a hard time breathing.
"By the way, I didn’t know we had some audience
for this deathmatch."
"W-what!?" Gasping for some air, Narumi couldn’t
"That kid looking at us from the window..."
Hikoroku pointed back at one of the windows with
Is that a friend of yours..?
[ 052 ]
"M-my friend you say?" Narumi moved a little bit
to look at the window to see who was there.
A thin boy was looking at Hikoroku and Narumi
with a perplexed look on his face.
When Narumi made eye contact with him. He
looked to the ground immediately.
It was that kid from the other day.
He helped him the other day when some thugs
attacked him and the girl that he was with.
It was Kikuchiyo Akuta.
[ 053 ]
Kikuchiyo was silent when he entered the training
hall. Taking off his shoes respectfully, he walked in
barefooted. As soon as he was in, he just looked at
"Why did you follow me? Do you need some
help?" Narumi asked a little surprised.
Kikuchiyo simply nodded in response.
Toshio Narumi noticed him as soon as he started
his jogging routine the day after he saved the boy
and that girl in the woods. Right at the pine tree
road, he was running and the kid was standing on
the left by the ocean side and looking at the people
passing as if he was looking for somebody in
particular. Once he made casual eye contact, the
kid looked down embarrassed a bit, but Narumi
"Hey, what's up?" Narumi said in a friendly tone to
the kid, but he was just quiet.
He remembered that this was the boy he saved.
Even though he was silent, after he passed him, he
felt that he was staring after him for a long time.
There was no doubt in Narumi's mind that this boy
was waiting for him.
[ 054 ]
He didn’t find the boy while jogging on his way
back. Next day though, the boy would be there
and the day after. Every time Narumi tried to say
"hi" to him, the boy would look down quietly.
Today, he appeared here in the training hall, It
came to Narumi's mind that after jogging, he would
come to the training hall a few times to spar with
some friends and help them on their techniques.
Was he being followed by this kid time after time?
It seemed that that was this case.
But how did he figure that he would be early in the
morning today practicing with Hikoroku?
Narumi usually comes here before going to work.
His daily routine starts at 6:30 am, he practices
until 8:00 and leaves for work. His shift starts at
around 9 o'clock. Usually nobody is here at this
time but the Master allowed him to come and gave
him a spare key.
Toshio Narumi started Karate way back when he
was in high school. He must've been coming to this
place for more than a decade. Earning the branch
owner's trust, he has no problem coming and going
from the hall at any time he wishes. Students and
martial artists usually arrive at about 12:00 pm for
instruction. In special cases, people would come
here at about 9:00 am at the earliest. A senior lady
that manages the hall. Otake-san, comes at 8:30
am to open the hall, but Narumi would be gone by
then. He always makes sure the Hall is locked,
even though, there's hardly anything of value that
could be stolen from here.
"Who told you that I would be here this early in the
Narumi asked a bit concerned. The boy didn’t say
anything. Constantly looking at the wooden floor,
without realizing that Narumi was staring at him
and frowning a little bit.
The soft sound of a cicada filled the silence of the
hall, probably wafting in the wind.
[ 055 ]
During the last five minutes, that was the only thing
you could hear in the room.
Hikoroku Hashiba was looking at them with his
arms crossed, slightly amused by this weird
interaction between them. "He's not going to bite
you, even if you ask him for a date." He smiled.
Because both men were laughing, Kikuchiyo
relaxed a little bit and uttered some words, almost
An old lady told me..." as if he was talking to the
"An old lady? I think he means Otake-san" Narum
"Anyway, can you tell me why are you here?”
Once again the boy got silent and Narumi felt that
the conversation was going nowhere with these
questions, so before waiting for another moment of
silence, he asked:
"Do you want to learn Karate, don’t you?"
The expression of the boy got excited and he
nodded his head quickly.
"If you come in the afternoon, you can register for
the main instruction. There will be plenty of
friendly people that can help you, don't worry."
The boy frowned and shook his head. That wasn't
what he wanted.
"Don't you want to join the Karate Dojo?"
The boy shook his head.
"I thought you wanted to learn Karate, right?" The
"Well, why won't you join then?" The boy shook
"Toshio, hear me out" Hikoroku spoke from behind
the boy, as if a shadow of a mountain suddenly had
appeared behind Kikuchiyo.
"I think the boy wants to learn your Karate style
directly from you" Uncrossing his arms, Hikoroku's
tone of voice got serious. Maybe the boy saw that
Tai-chi technique, heard all that stuff about how
dangerous it was and wanted to snatch it for
"Is that what you want?" Narumi asked kindly.
The boy's attitude brighten up and he started
He looked at him and thought that this kid was like
one of those strange child actors that are a little
odd at first, but completely dedicated to their
beloved craft once you get them on stage.
Kikuchiyo was shaking but he was definitively
committed in learning the particular style that
Narumi forged for himself. That wasn't an easy
task, Narumi remembered....
[ 056 ]
Yes, he remembered those old days. He was about t
Abusive kids were always around messing with
people, but he didn’t want to be taken for a fool.
He wanted to have the power to punch them really 1
He dedicated himself to improving his skills and lo
But also saved his life and gave him the direction
and discipline necessary to succeed.
"You want to be strong too, right?" said Naruini.
Kikuchiyo's body was quivering while he was still
looking down. He was making tight fists and his
face had some water drops running down from it.
Narumi knew how the boy felt, he had experienced
it first hand too. Been there, done that, Karate was
"Sure, if that's what you want, I will teach you my
Karate style" Narumi asserted. He was
Kikuchiyo's age back then and he also found
somebody strong that wanted to emulate, this was
his turn in life.
"Alright..." Kikuchiyo said with a resilient voice.
"Alright!!" Like an echo bouncing inside his mind,
heart and soul, he kept repeating inside of him.
[ 057 ]
Toshio Narumi started training the young
Kikuchiyo Akuta in the fighting arts of Karate.
They’d always start very early in the mornings.
They made an agreement before starting.
"I will train you only if you show up in the hall
while I’m here. When you don’t, then I won’t
With that condition, Narumi would train Kikuchiyo
in the special Karate that he forged for himself.
Everyday. No matter how early Narumi show up in
the hall, Kikuchiyo would be always there waiting
for him anxious for morning practice.
The first thing Narumi did was to measure
Kikuchiyo’s physical fitness.
[ 058 ]
He didn’t resort to any machines or systems to do
so. He would simply observe how many squats
Kikuchiyo could perform. How flexible he was or
how much he could run around the block without
getting exhausted. Before starting the lessons, he
wanted to see his natural potential.
Unfortunately, compared to kids his age, he was
way below the average mark.
Doing squats— By standing and crouching
constantly, you push your body to a movement that
is unnatural. It's certainly harder to do than it
looks, but still the boy did them poorly.
Definitively this wasn't a good start, his flexibility
was mediocre for a boy his age.
Then, it came the time to test his resistance, he
sprinted for a short distance but he ran quite slow
and he was instantly out of breath. To build up
some resistance, he and Narumi would go jogging
for a distance close to a decent marathon run.
Kikuchiyo started poking his chin forward and
started lagging behind.
But not all of his characteristics were lackluster,
there were a few traits that Narumi noticed about
this boy that made him quite unusual, there were
two most noticeable ones that he started observing.
"Don't push yourself so hard!! You're overdoing
He would often call Kikuchiyo about his push up
sets. He suggested a "soft level" 3 sets of 8 push
ups to begin, but while he was doing something
else, Kikuchiyo had done 127 push ups in a single
Narumi figured that, because of his skinny arms,
the soft level may leave him exhausted. He was
expecting that Kikuchiyo would give up after 10 or
so, but never expected those skinny arms to do
more than ten times what it was expected of him.
The kid looked fine and in good spirits after that.
The average athlete's arms would have been gone
after a stunt like that. There are experts at push ups
that can pull off 300, 500 and even 3000 in a single
hour. These are remarkable athletes with years of
constant training and dedication. A kid from the
street with hardly any training pulling this number
was not normal!!
But the explanation for this was quickly caught by
Narumi’s keen observation.
Kikuchiyo's right arm was strangely strong. Almost
three times stronger than the left. He made him do
push ups with only one arm until he felt he couldn’t
go anymore. Kikuchiyo did 37 push ups with the
right arm but when it was time to use his left arm,
he did only one and he was done.
Kikuchiyo noticed how impressed Narumi was
with his push ups that he started focusing in
working even more on them and he felt good. To
the point that he was doing them all the time. It was
hard for him to do two or three with the left, but if
the motivation was there, He could do 100 or
maybe 200 with his right on a good day, and almost
twice the amount of regular push ups when in
reality, it was the right arm doing most of the work.
The second thing that Narumi noticed that startled
him a bit was his freak endurance during a
marathon. He would get tired really fast when he
ran with Narumi around the city, but when he ran
by himself in the hall, he showed his unbelievable
One time Narumi ordered him to run around the
training hall without stopping or taking a break to
measure how long he would keep at it. He told him
just to run at his own pace. When one can run at
one's leisure, It is imperative not only to have a
good physical condition but also a strong mentality.
It is known that morale will fade faster than
That morning, Kikuchiyo ran from 6:30 am to 8:00
am, looking down all the time. Narumi felt tempted
to call in from work and ask permission in the
Dojo to see how much more he would endure.
The psychological resilience of Kikuchiyo Akuta
was simply unbelievable. In a battle against
himself or his tolerance against pain made Narumi
feel even a little uneasy. If he were to tell him "do
squats, run around and punch the bag until I come
back" and didn’t return, he would stay there doing
that until the next morning.
"He's that kind of person." Narumi thought to him:
As he was discovering Kikuchiyo's unusual talents,
"He saw it once, what if he gets obsessed with
"We’re sending them home with dangerous knowled
[ 060 ]
Kikuchiyo Akuta, The frail and silly kid as we
know him, was about to be reborn into a lethal
Practicing Karate was fun for him. He loved it
dearly, dedicating all his time, energy and money
to it. He started seeing the positive results that his
hard work brought in his own body.
That only fueled the intensity of his practice and
the harder he pushed himself, the better the results
were. He was truly happy for having Karate as an
integral part of his life.
His resistance to running got much better from the
beginning and he felt proud running toe to toe with
his master. He’d never tried to pass him, just
running at his pace relaxed him.
Also his push ups increased. After a month, he
could do 300 push ups with both arms, a hundred
in 4 sets with his left only but a single set of 300
with only his right arm.
He was glad to have found something exciting and
rewarding to do while he was alone. Rather than
just doing Karate for practice's sake, he was glad
to be left alone with his Karate.
He finally had a reason to cherish his loneliness.
Karate provided constant excitement but once he
started reaching the next level, he felt hungrier for
more power and knowledge and practiced more
Religiously, he would learn Karate from Narumi in
the morning. After he’d leave for work, he would
practice by himself. Repeating the drills and
methods hundred of times, the ones that Narumi
taught him and a few others that he researched
To enhance his character and psychological resilier
The only actual fighting techniques Narumi taught
Kikuchiyo were a few practical kicks, some jabs
and the basic karate stances. Narumi emphasized
that he needed to obtain more power, make his
body more flexible and master the basics as
second nature to be able to continue to the more
He also mentioned that Kikuchiyo didn’t need to
perform Kata or engage in "Kumite" for the time
being, there would be plenty of time for that later.
Kikuchiyo wasn’t in a rush for anything, he didn’t
seem annoyed by the repetitive drills and exercises
that seemed to continue endlessly. Sometimes, he
would practice the same kick for six hours until the
blisters on the sole of his feet would gradually
break off and were bleeding.
[ 062 ]
He made a post with some wood and straws and
started striking it for half a day. The skin in his
knuckles cracked and his blood colored the post
red almost immediately.
Narumi got infuriated at Kikuchiyo for such a
reckless move. Once he saw his injured knuckles
he berated him for not knowing when to stop. That
was nothing to be proud about.
By the evening, Kikuchiyo started jogging the same
trail that Toshio Narumi used to run with him,
the road with the pine trees with the breeze of the
sea on the left. These days though, Narumi wasn’t
jogging. He was training in Burinkan for the
national Karate tournament that was about to
happen in the fall. Kikuchiyo had not talked to
Noriko Izawa since the library incident of that day,
many months ago.
When they did come across in school, they would
exchange a small greeting and that was it.
Greeting and slightly smiling was a great
achievement for Kikuchiyo since he wasn’t a
person that was used to talking to girls or women
without feeling weird about it. This time it was
different. There was a confidence in him and a
look that sent a message. Noriko didn’t bring up
any conversation about the experience of that day
but she started looking at him in a different way.
It wasn't favorable at all though, but she didn’t hate
him or wanted to ignore him either. He was just a
weird guy that was different from the other men at
school, That was her simple perspective about
She still remembered him carrying a box with
legless creatures with him. How weird can you be
to be doing stuff like that? Gross.
But it was one of the handful of times he saw her
after the incident. He saw her once walking
towards school on summer break and a few other
times while he was jogging before his evening
It was around this time when Kikuchiyo's mother,
Saeko, disappeared from his life.
It was the last day of school before vacation time
in Isogahara junior high school.
When he returned home from school, the house was
strangely clean and straighten out.
It definitely appeared that it was someone else’s
house. He called his mother's name as usual, even
though he knew that she wasn’t around. The weird
silence that followed answered his call.
He checked her closet, but none of her clothes
were there. All her things were gone.
Finally, a thought crossed his mind.
"We are all alone!!" she screamed that night....
"I won't befooled!!" Her face looked ghastly that ti
He pictured her shattering the jaw of the dog's
corpse. Her voice sounding terrifying and
that night. A beautiful woman like her, doing things
He entered his room, so clean and neat, when was
the last time he was here?
Between all his things, there was his bank account
book and a seal with it.
The account name was his name and the amount
that was there was around 300.000 yen.
There wasn’t a single message, letter or note telling
him of her whereabouts.
Just the amount she left for him and her missing
things was clear enough to realize that she left and
she wasn't going to return. They were not going to
see each other again.
But there was no indication that she left today.
If she left, it was the day that he got attacked by the
dog, she was drunk and cut the dog’s neck and
shattered his skull screaming that all of us are
alone in the world and have to fend for ourselves.
She never left any messages before, why would it
be different this time?
But it was...She kept saying that if Kikuchiyo
someday would leave but she’ll follow him,
the day finally arrived.
[ 064 ]
But she was the one that left that day, and
Kikuchiyo wasn’t going to follow her, why for?
She hugged him, cried and promised things but in
the end. she forged her own path that freed her
from her problems, just like when he found Karate
and a better life because of it.
He felt that a woman has the right to choose to live
the way she wants. Her problems weren’t his
concern. He felt that the woman that left wasn't his
mother at all, just some passerby that offered some
help before leaving as many people do.
"Surviving alone....Living alone...."
That concept rolled into his heart like a little stone
rolls down from a mountain.
[ 065 ]
Kikuchiyo went out jogging that very evening. The
weather was pleasant and without school for the
next few months, he could dedicate more time to
practicing Karate. The idea made him happy and
what better time to kick off the school break than
He trailed the same route that he and Narumi had
used every day. He was simply enjoying his inner
peace and his running pace was relaxed. The view
of the sea behind the pine trees was beautiful.
He ran to feel the ground under his shoes. He ran e\
The wind was mixing the scent of the pine trees
with the smell of the sea, creating a delicate
He was jogging at his usual time but winter made
the days shorter and the moon and stars would be
up there sooner than usual, the place was becoming
darker quite fast.
Running through a curved slope for a mile or so, a
shadow popped in front of him.
It was Shimamura. The moment he stopped, he felt
two people sneaking behind him.
"You're not going to escape today, bitch." Kato
Fearing the worst, he turned around quickly, just to
be ambushed by Shimamura.
He caught him from one arm
[ 066 ]
He had wondered were they had been. Shimamura
and Kato hadn’t showed up at school ever since the
attack. While recovering from the surprise, he
heard Shimamura say.
"I know you always run here with your friend, but
he's busy lately ain’t he?"
Shimamura pulled his arm and Kato grabbed the
"Come on, bro, we got something cool to show
Both of them were wearing their familiar gangster
clothing and had dirty smiles on their faces.
Their trap was working great. They dragged
with them. He tried to fight back a bit but he wasn't
putting too much resistance and they didn’t let him
go. They were laughing and dragged him towards
an isolated area behind the pine tree forest.
Once they arrived to an area that was far from the
main roads, Kikuchiyo noticed three shadows in
the dark. It was Shimizu, the High school student
Kuromuna and...Noriko Izawa!!
Kikuchiyo wanted to say something but his lips
The school blouse and skirt that Noriko was
wearing were torn. Her hips and breasts were
dimly visible in the dark. She was making mu filed
sounds with teary eyes because her panties and bra
were jammed into her mouth and her mouth was
tied with a rope so tight that the pressure was
squeezing hard the edges of her mouth.
It was Kuromuna the one restraining her from the
back. He put his left hand over her shoulder, under
a piece of cloth that used to be her blouse.
Grabbing her left breast, He started squeezing it
[ 067 ]
He was clawing it so hard that the breast was
changing its shape it was painful.
"You were the fucker that killed my dog, ain't cha?
Kuromuna said suddenly.
Kikuchiyo was silent but he didn’t look down.
"Don't ever bother denying it or saying anything
because I know the truth."
He said it impatiently as he was about to lick his
"I got a pal that goes to Burinkan. He told me a few
days ago that he saw the kid that killed my dog
attending Burinkan early in the morning. That same
kid with a crazy old bitch went to the park and
dumped something that looked suspicious. He was
drunk that time and he threw up all night because of
what he saw. He's the same one that told me that
my dog was dead."
"He told me that the kid secretly practices Karate
every morning there."
That was when Kuromuna gave a menacing look at
"So you practice Karate when nobody sees you,
He pressed her breast harder, her eyes closed even
tighter, whimpering in pain.
Kikuchiyo was looking at her face without glancing
down. She had a really delicate and beautiful face.
Noriko's looks without bra or underwear gave a
jolt of excitement to Kikuchiyo. It was blowing his
brains away. Under his training pants, he felt his
beastly thing was lifting up menacingly.
"Don't get distracted, you fuck!! I'm talking to
you!!" Kuromuna screamed at top of his lungs.
The three men were laughing with wicked laughs.
"This bitch is great. My brother that works in
Yokohama told me she's pretty famous there."
[ 068 ]
Noriko's face was really pale.
"Don’t feel bad about her, she’s used to things like
this. She prostitutes herself in Yokohama. She gets
a lot of money, especially from foreign black dudes
that want to fuck a Japanese thing. She’s the best
fuck in town I tell ya. She get so many cocks per
night that she's running the market dry there."
"Hey, we're in luck tonight. My brother's boss paid
40.000 yen to ram his cock into her dirty pussy.
You gonna watch us fuck her for free,
brother... hahahahah "
Kuromuna's face was covered in sweat. He was
sweating buckets while his eyes had a sinister
glow. He was holding a knife with his right hand
and cut the last pieces of cloth she was wearing.
She was fully naked now.
The moon glow was shining over her delicate
body. Even in winter, as in summer, her pale skin
would shine without showing any swimsuit or
underwear marks. So white, so pure....
"Take off his clothes too!!" Kuromuna ordered the
other guys around.
Kato grabbed him from behind, restraining his
arms while Shimamura squatted in front of him and
pulled down his pants quickly.
Shimamura was surprised when a big, thick rod
violently pointed at his face, it was his hard
"DAAAAMNNN, look at this thing, he's ready to
Shimamura stood up, spat and smirked to him.
"So, you wanna fuck her too, huh?" He got in the
face of Kikuchiyo.
"Come on, say it." Shimamura was breathing on his
face and was getting impatient.
Kikuchiyo didn’t make a sound. This time though,
he wasn’t looking down. He was looking straight at
" An swer me, motherfucker!!"
And he suddenly threw a hard punch at him.
[ 069 ]
His cheekbones made a groaning noise.
Next, Shimamura punched his stomach. He started
punching his stomach repeatedly with both fists
and then he punched his face again.
Kikuchiyo felt a warm stream of liquid corning
from his nose and a thick slime with a metallic
flavor started invading his mouth. It had an insipid
There was something hard pinching his tongue. It
was a broken tooth.
"Where's your Karate now, bitch!!? Come on and
use it!!" Shimamura screamed at him.
Kato kept shaking his body and pressing back.
That's when Shimamura threw a punch right into
"Guugh!!" Kikuchiyo made a desperate sound
while trying to fend off his punch.
As hard as he tried, He couldn’t free himself from
Kato's arms that were grabbing him from behind.
Moving his body desperately to free himself only
to get repeatedly punched in the face, Kikuchiyo
started feeling that he was out of options.
Worse than that, He started feeling that he was drow
Something dark, thick, metallic, red, sharp, slimy ai
He wanted to purge it. He wished he could open
his mouth and vomit it. Invading his stomach, his
lungs, his mouth, his eyes, the back of his nose.
This thing was going to squeeze the life out of him.
He was violently shaking his arms and screaming
to the sky trying to purge the thing out.
Kato panicked a bit and let him go.
Kikuchiyo fell over his knees onto the sand with
his legs knotted with his underpants. He was still
trying to move but the sand underneath him was red
from the blood of his mouth.
Bwleghh..." He threw up....and then....
'Hiwuuaaahh ggh hh" He gave a desperate scream.
"Hahahah!! What the fuck!? Your best Karate move
is just screaming?" Shimamura joked.
While Kikuchiyo was coughing and trying to vomit,
Shimamura ran and kicked him in the face.
Kato moved to him too and started kicking his butt.
Noriko in turn, was pushed down to the sand and
Kuromuna mounted her over. He pulled down his
pants and his bare butt was moving trying to find a
position in between Noriko's legs.
Shimizu moved towards Noriko, pushing down
both her arms with his leg and his right arm
He was fondling her right breast with his left hand.
It was a pitiful scene devoid of humanity,
mercy and common sense. Everyone seemed to be
out of their minds.
Looking around he saw images in front of his eyes
passing in a flash.
Kato's fists, Shimamura’s arms, Kuromuna's bare
bottom, Noriko's anguished face.
Once again, the nauseating feeling returned. His
stomach contracted and flexed and he vomited.
He vomited something warm and sour that flew
towards the ground.
He kept vomiting many times, even while being pur
His stomach was empty, yet it didn’t come out as he
A dark red lump of something thick was overtaking
all his body. It didn’t come out from his body
because it was stuck in his flesh, Blocking the air
from entering his lungs, blocking his heart from
pumping more blood, disabling his thoughts.
Kikuchiyo was crying out of desperation and a
shriek of freedom was finally heard.
"Wuuurryyarrrhhhh" He stood up holding a heavy
piece of rock that he felt surprisingly light, maybe
because he was holding it with his right hand.
Shimamura didn’t see it coming, the last thing he
saw was Kikuchiyo standing up in front of him.
and the lights went out.
This was because Kikuchiyo walked to him and
smashed his head with the rock.
Shimamura's feet got lifted from the ground and he
flew after a horrible fast strike that caught him with
full force and when his limp body hit the ground,
there was a ring of blood that started spreading out
in the sand coming from his face.
"AHH!!" Kato wasn’t prepared for what he had just
witnessed, but soon was his turn.
Kikuchiyo turned fast, trying to bash his head too,
but grazed his forehead instead.
Marked with a bloody cut, Kato's survival instinct
He turned around and ran away.
Kato ran as fast as he could but Kikuchiyo caught
him easily. Running from behind, he gave him a
body push so hard that Kato crashed head on into a
pine tree. Holding the pine tree, he fell
unconscious but kept holding the tree. Kikuchiyo,
trying to stay one step ahead of any movements
from Kato, jumped and smacked his neck with the
rock, two, three times. He even kicked him but
Kato simply hugged the tree and slid down leaving
a profuse trail of blood on the tree. His eyes were
He hadn’t used any of the techniques he had
learned, it had all been done with pure brute force.
Turning around quickly, he ran towards Kuromuna
that was still mounting Noriko. Oblivious of the
grotesque scene and the mortal danger behind him.
It was too late
Fixated in targeting his head, Kikuchiyo ran
towards him holding the rock in his hand and
the back of Kuromuna's head so hard that it sent
him stumbling towards Noriko.
The force with which the heavy rock landed on him
stumbled Kuromuna, but he was still moving while
Noriko was giving muffled gasps with the
underwear inside her mouth.
Kuromuna stood up so he smashed his head again,
He stumbled and tried to run away but Kikuchiyo
smashed his face again. Striking him sideways,
striking him from the top, smashing him over and
over. Kikuchiyo jumped over his body.
He was still moving on the ground so Kikuchiyo
smashed him more and thought....
"His Eyes are falling off'
"Doesn’t matter, keep smashing him!!
"His skull is opening up"
"Don't stop, smash him, smash him more!!"
Kuromuna finally stopped moving, Shimizu was
nowhere to be found, he was gone from the place.
Kikuchiyo crouched over the lifeless body and
started wailing loudly while still holding that
bloody rock. Noriko had lost consciousness after
witnessing the cold blooded carnage. Kuromuna’s
blood was slowly rolling down her chest.
The wind was slowly blowing around the pine
branches over Kikuchiyo's head.
Feeling the fresh air from the sea mixed with the
scent of the pine trees in his lungs. Hearing the
sound of the trees. Having the far away call of the
waves with the image of the full moon over a dark,
That's when he finally could cry wholeheartedly
towards the sky. Trying to make sense to the
madness that had been violently unleashed towards
him and Noriko recently.
It happened at this moment, at this place....
Loneliness finally embraced him.
CHAPTER 1: THE CHIKUSHO
-THE END— to be continued.